This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Nick J’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Love Exposure is a movie that feels more like a weird Japanese/Korean drama/mini-series you don't actually watch but rather find clips of in that "most important videos" playlist, bad porno, kung fu instructional video, and epic religious movie rolled up into one and smoked like a joint. A film that values authenticity and finding the dogmas that work for you personally but turns that message up past 11 into extremes of sexual perversion and violence. And it kind of works for about an hour. It's just unfortunate this shit is about four hours.
The film starts as a bad made-for-TV drama with weird cinematography where anytime Kaori is on screen you want to turn on something else, but as soon as Yu starts getting into sin it starts getting good. The film becomes an unapologetically sleazy kung-fu-style movie about being a pervert with a lovable cast of characters acting so horribly that you can't help but laugh in fear and amazement. And then the goddamn family drama gets right back in the way and it stops being fun.
As someone who can value things that are horrid like Gantz, I can admire the film to degree, but the overall deal of having to care about these horrible, horrible people for 3 hours is not worth it. I had absolutely zero emotional connection with any of these people for the rest of the film where you're supposed to root for Yu and want him to get with Yoko. The overall message that authentic sex perverts are better than shallow religious nuts doesn't strike me at all especially when its packaged as more of a drama than a good, fun action movie which it is for, like, an hour. It's unbearable for the run-time and before you launch a "you can't sit through long things" ad hominem, I sat through Avengers Endgame twice without bathroom breaks and I'm watching AND reading One Piece so fuck you. You know what those works had that this didn't? Likable characters and engaging themes. Incoming 13 page essay on the intricacies of Vinsmoke Sanji, which boils down to "One Piece is not about the sex pervert chef" and if it was it would be horrible. Aside from the scene where Yu/Miss Scorpion raids the Zero headquarters to save Yoko in a great schlocky action sequence, there's no reason to tune into anything past Koike entering the family dynamic.
I can't recommend Love Exposure to anyone with a semblance of sanity. I will never rewatch this unless, I dunno, acid is involved.