Beautiful Life, starring Takuya Kimura and Takako Tokiwa. It must not be the first time that I had seen Tokiwa's face but it definitely is my first time watching a drama of hers from beginning to end.
I didn't like the character she portrayed, but she obviously portrayed it very well.
The story itself is a sad story, something along the lines of 1 Litre of Tears.. Don't say I ruined it for you, it's pretty obvious from its title and in the first few episodes themselves..
Though the idea of death and disease is common to both dramas, however, the style and plots are actually very different. Beautiful Life is actually much slower, even though it's for a very short period of time in the story. It needed full attention though and I found that I cannot binge watch like I do with other dramas, so it dragged on for a couple of months in my possession.
Today I decided to finish the last half of the last episode, knowing what was to come of course.
It was very beautifully done. In fact, I don't think any movie or drama has come anywhere near doing this bit this well for an ending..
I think it explored a really nice side of Japan.. and of life in general..and of that period (2000s). It may seem just yesterday to you and to me if I think of where I was, however I find that that time was so, so different and so much more beautiful than the life we possess today. Perhaps the drama made me nostalgic but none of it was in any way overdone..
BTW it's written by Eriko Kitagawa, who'd also written Long Vacation, Orange Days, Sunao ni Narenakute, and One Million Stars Falling from the Sky, all stories I had watched and loved especially the latter.
Here's what Wikipedia says:
Beautiful Life is a massive success, and holds the TV rating record of drama in Japan over the 30 years (41.3%).
So should you watch it?
Watch it and watch it slow.. appreciate every moment.. For it's a clear-cut story, there's no mystery about it... it's like a bitter and yet very much appreciated cup of tea.