The closing film of this year's Japanese Film Festival, I was half expecting it to end with a rousing and wild finale, given its similarities to last year's commercial release Swing Girls, which also set its story with characters involved in putting up a musical performance. However, it didn't quite live up to expectation, but nonetheless the journey was still pleasing to the eyes (ahem).
Unlike Swing Girls where the characters had no idea how to play with the jazz band instruments, the group in Linda Linda Linda have been jamming in their own rock band, so they have some prior experience. Save for their lead singer, who was hastily recruited, and turned out to be a Korean (you'd recognize her from The Host), from the school's Korea-Japan foreign student exchange programme.
So begins the frantic pace of finalizing the composition of the group - lead vocalist Son (Bae Du-Na), drummer Kyoko (Aki Maeda), guitarist Kei (Yu Kashii, last seen in Death Note), and bassist Nozomi (Shiori Sekine), and the independent as well as combined practice and training sessions. The songs were as catchy as the lyrics were inane (well, if the English subtitles were to be trusted), taken from Japanese pink rock band The Blue Hearts. Naturally you'll need the element of adversity, and it comes in the form of a lack of venues to practice before their big day performance during the school's rock festival.
As per formula, you'll always have the misfits put together and then bonding just in time for their show. It's no different for Linda Linda Linda, as ultimately it's still a feel good movie. It follows the same technique in teasing the audience on the group's performing ability as they improve day by day, in not showing you their performing of the songs in full, and builds up anticipation for that bring-the-house-down finale. However, it lacked certain deftness in resolving the multiple minor subplots (like romance) it opened, preferring to leave them unresolved or open ended.
And when the final performance did come on, it's too little too late, with its lack of oomph in delivery, cutting short on the promised 3 song medley. It's a pity though, as the journey to the destination really hinted on a big-bang adrenaline filled ending.