Also known as: Flowers for Algernon
Format: drama in 10 episodes
His wish is granted when group of scientists need voluntary person with mental disability for their research experiment. As Sakuto’s intelligent is increasing, his world as he knew it is collapsing.
“Flowers for Algernon” is based on same-titled award-winning short story by Daniel Keyes. It has made into drama once before in 2002 with Yusuke Santamaria and Kanno Miho as leads and Korean version is “Hello, God” (2006) starring Yoo Gun and Kim Ok Bin. I actually took time from my sleeping hours and read it. If you have a chance, then you definitely should read it.
To compare the movie with short story, then yes, the basic story-line is taken from the story – mentally disabled man gets a surgery what makes him become genius for a while – but there are a lot of changes in the script. I hope you do not mind if I bring them out in the review.
This drama is without doubt Yamashita Tomohisa’s most outstanding and best performances in his career. If anyone says that he cannot act, then they just have to see “Algeron ni hanataba wo”.
Sakuto’s view on world and life are a bit more advantaged than for most people with mental disabilities. As he is promised to become smart after the operation, then it is clear that there is no chance that he would say no.
If you compare the before and after, it seems like they are totally different people, but I am more amazed how greatly they bring out the changes of his mindset and how it all influences his life and decisions. Though I think my favorite part was to see the decrease of the operation influence. It is amazing how Yamashita Tomohisa acts out all the phases of the operation effect and it is the proof of him as an amazing actor to play this kind of big variety of characters in one movie. In addition, to act as person with disability is one of the most risky roles for an actor as it is easy to make small mistakes or over-act the part.
Yamashita Tomohisa put all his effort into this role to bring out all the sides of Sakuto and he did a great job with it. In the novel, the main-character is 37-year-old Charlie who works as a janitor in one industry building. The drama has been made into more romance-drama, because what would be drama with Yamashita Tomohisa without a love-storyline? Sorry, but as we already know how Japanese movie-industry works, it was kind of a must to add big love and friendship theme into it.
Due to this drama, I started to discover that I am not the biggest fan of Kuriyama Shiraki and I definitely do not like her character, Mochizuki Haruka, in the drama. She was the only reason why I thought of take down one star. Haruka is part of the science team who are working on a medicine to cure mental disabilities. She is unprofessional in her work and should have been removed
I feel that about Sakuto and Haruka’s relationship at one moment scriptwriters forgot to develop it any further. You can see everything very clearly when it comes to Sakuto – how and when there are changes, but I feel that Haruka is just “one moment this, other moment that” and it does not make me feel that her feelings were earnest or true. From the start of everything, Haruka has been having her eyes on Hachisuka-sensei who is the lab leader.
There are also Sakuto’s friends who bring up the theme of “what is friendship and what friends do for each other”. It is a lot based on the book as Charlie considers everyone at the work also his friends, but the smarter he gets the more he finds that they are just using him and making fun of him. Of course for Sakuto the case is not entirely like that as Ryuichi and Kosuke really are his friends.
One really important part of the drama is also Mai and Rio – young rich girls who come across Sakuto and end up becoming friends with him, Ryuichi and Kosuke. You cannot call Mai and Rio great friends from the start as Mai is sassy girl who does not like Rio so much because of the family relations, while at the same time Rio sees Mai as her only great friend. Rio is also suffering from a rare disease, that can put her to sleep for the rest of her life. Even though Rio develops feelings toward Sakuto, Kosuke is paying a lot of attention to her and despite being from different social backgrounds he is willing to protect her.
Maybe I really did not like Haruka at all, but I think it was a good ending for their story.