Pate Duncan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Said more about the film’s narrative components in my first review, but what I appreciate on a rewatch is its intricate planning and use of rhymes or doublings, using the edit and excerpts from Uncle Vanya either on tape or acted out as direct commentaries on the narrative events occurring prior. Vanya acts as a kind of outsourcing of interiority, emotional shorthand that elevates a reference or narrative pretense into something integral to character development, always dialectically positioned against the film’s own narrative and the character’s lives within it. Murakami’s fiction does this with its referentiality too; these moments make personal interaction with a text the object of their commentary rather than the texts themselves.
In short, how you react to a text is deemed important by this film. Hamaguchi’s cinephilia is apparent here and the film honors audiences’ engagement with works beyond simply fannish behaviors and soyfacing. Hamaguchi works with a sensitivity, seriousness, and transformative intent that is rare in film today.