All About Lily Chou Chou by Shunji Iwai Film Review

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All About Lily Chou Chou is one of those cases where the production of the film is much more interesting than the film itself.

As ThoughtAgent pointed out the specifics of the plot do not matter that much, it's just a theme movie where none of the characters stand out.

What was the theme? I guess the theme was high school bullying and students using internet communities and celebrities unsuccessfully, in this case, as an escape. Other than that as TA said again, it was just a miserable list of events with a few moments of respite in between.

If you ignore the dramatic parts like the sex abuse and bullying, then it sort of does carry out the dull gray monotone, monotony of real high school life. This realness doesn't make it any less dull or monotonous to watch.

I found the official website about the film more interesting than the film. It does a good job of explaining the production side interesting stuff but you will need an Adobe Flash enabled web browser and a magnifying glass to read the small text. To keep it short, All About Lily Chou Chou, is an early example of an almost web-novel film adaptation.

I liked some of the camcorder shots and the general look and location of the film but I found the story and characters to be boring, unremarkable and poorly explained.
After recording a voicechat with TA I tried watching the first YouTube review which came up. It focused on the social commentary aspects of the film, about bullying and so on, which is the boring stuff.

The lilydictionary section of the film's official site is interesting if only because it attempts to explain the Japanese high school culture to early 2000s westerners. The site has an English language version and a Japanese version. I did not expect there to be an English language version, the content on the two sites is different. I tried reading the Japanese site with Google Translate but I didn't get that far.

From what I understand the story was semi-collaboratively made on a BBS forum with the director Shunji Iwai who used different usernames to talk with real users to a BBS forum run by him. Posts from this forum are featured in the film. There's a forum on the Japanese ver of the site which might be the same forum.

The film has got some deep lore but it's not such a good film. I give it a 1/10. Overall the film was giving a "this is what real life for teenagers is like" attitude which I did not like.

All that talk about "Ether" in the forum posts felt like "I am 14 and this is deep." I guess it is realistic cause the characters are literally 14 but I am not and I found it boring.

In general I felt like the web forum plot was just flavour. You could take forum posts are references to the fictional pop star lily chou chou out and the story would not break. Lily was not integral to the story. The internet forum/fan-community  aspect was neglected in the film. The teenage drama elements were meh. This could be evened out off-screen if only the relevant forum posts and web novel posts were translated somewhere and easily available.

I just didn't find any of the teenage drama interesting tbh. TA said that he found the Okinawa trip with the side-character death, killer flying fish, rent-a-thots, and a near drowning, was relatable and seemed realistic, like a trip with friends. To be fair, I have also gone on holiday by mistake, and it wasn't much better.

A lot of the forum posts seemed banal and ordinary. It didn't feel like a comfy small community, then again I just used google translate on it. I also found some fake newspaper clippings about events in the film. It is cute to think that some of the extras in the last scene were readers of the web novel but beyond that  the ending held no significance for me. An unsympathetic character got killed. The End.

- Otaking, The Good Student