Fantasia Review: Hold Me Back

Non and Tada

We live in a world where the expectation to get married and raise a family is almost as strong as ever. Whilst the nature of relationships may have changed, being single after a certain age is still viewed by many as a failure, or at least something distinctly odd. However, when you live alone for a certain amount of time it becomes the norm. Anything outside of this feels unusual and strange. You even start talking to yourself, which is the case in Hold Me Back.

At the age of 31, Non (Mitsuko) underperforms in her office job and lives alone, constantly seeking out new experiences to document and share. She revels in this single life, relying on her mental councillor ‘A’ to advise and instruct her at all times. This changes when she meets Tada (Kento Hayashi), a salesman who often visits her workplace. Whilst the pair have an obvious attraction the prospect of being in a couple seems alien to the devout singleton.  

Hold Me Back is an unusual and eccentric romantic comedy which has all the familiar elements you’d expect but is more of a montage than a linear journey. This tonal mish-mash is confusing at first but soon becomes an undoubted strength. Mitsuko and Hayashi are charismatic leads and the meandering story is surprisingly emotive at times. With Hold Me Back, director Akiko Ohku has created an offbeat and unusual love story which is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Hold Me Back screens at Fantasia International Film Festival.

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