As it starts to get cooler around this time of year, you might start to spend more time at home. Many of you probably watch movies when spending your weekends relaxing at home. Lately, subscription services such as Netflix have been offering more and more content. Have you ever watched Japanese movies? Watching movies is a great way to learn Japanese as you can practice listening comprehension while learning new vocabulary. In this article, I will introduce some Japanese words you can use when discussing about movies. Let's introduce your favorite movie(s) to someone, or express your impression on a movie you recently watched in Japanese! I will be using N2 level grammatical expressions here. If you are an advanced level learner, make sure to check them out!
First, let's start by describing your favorite movie genres in Japanese. Which genre do you often watch?
・恋愛 (Romance), ラブコメディ (Rom-coms)
・ホラー (Horror), サスペンス (Suspense)
Imagine you are at a movie theater with your friends. Looking at the movie posters, you discuss which movie you are going to watch. Here are some useful grammatical structures that you can use in those situations:
AからしてB (A karasite B)
Here, "A" contains a noun, while "B" contains a guess or judgment based on what is mentioned in "A." It is used when you look at a single element and express your own opinion on it. For example, if you are talking about a movie, you might say:
【Meaning】"戦慄病棟 (Senritsu Byōto; Exeter)" sounds scary from its title alone.
Aをもとに（して） (A wo-motoni [shite])
"A" contains a noun. This noun should be the foundation or basis for creating or thinking about something. A movie based on a novel or manga, which is filmed with actors is called a "実写版 (jissha ban; live-action version)." Recently, production of live-action movies and dramas have been on the rise. These reworks of written or pictorial works that employ real actors and places, attracts a lot of attention while at the same time receiving harsh evaluations from fans of the original works. It might be interesting to compare the original version and the live-action version.
【Meaning】I heard this movie was based on a true story.
Now, imagine that you have just finished watching a movie, and you want to share your thoughts and opinions on it with your friends. Can you express your impressions in Japanese? For example, you can use the following expressions:
思ったより～ (omottayori~)/A（の）わりにB (A [no] warini B)
Both of these expressions are used when something is different from what you had expected. Try using these terms when something exceeds or disappoints your expectations.
After "思ったより (more than I expected)," add an adjective that describes your impression (such as it was good/interesting/boring/etc.).
"A" contains the "ordinary form of a verb or adjective" or "noun + の," while "B" contains the content that is different from the degree that can be considered from "A." In other words, this sentence pattern expresses that "A" and "B" are disproportionate. This can be used in both a positive and a negative sense.
【Meaning】That movie was more interesting than I expected it to be / was not as interesting as I expected it to be.
【Meaning】It was interesting for an amateur movie. / It was not as interesting as the reviews claimed it to be.
It is used to mean "it is A, so of course it is B." "B" contains a subjective evaluation, and "A" contains the reason backing that evaluation. In most cases, the sentence is a compliment or a positive evaluation. For example, when you evaluate a movie as interesting, if there is a reason why you think it is interesting (because it was directed by a famous director, it won an award, etc.), you can express your opinion while emphasizing your feelings of "やはり/さすが (indeed, as expected)."
【Meaning】This movie is so popular that it has been aired repeatedly on television.
【Meaning】This movie was interesting indeed, as it won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
"A" contains something that is indispensable (a noun), while "B" contains the negative form, such as "~ない" or "~ません." One of the typical romantic lines from a movie or drama is "君なしでは生きていけない (I cannot live without you)," which can mean that "生きていくためには君の存在が何よりも大切だ (Your existence is more important than anything else in my life./you are the most important thing in my life)."
How do you feel when you watch a romantic movie? You may shed tears of sympathy for the main character, or your heart might ache at the heartbreaking storyline. For example, a movie that makes you tear up whenever you watch it can be described in the following way:
【Meaning】I cannot watch this movie without tearing up.
What is a movie that you cannot watch without tearing up? In addition, when a story contains both comedic and touching elements, it is called a "笑いあり涙あり (story with laughter and tears)." When you watch movies like this, I am sure they can help you forget about things that have been bothering you.
What is your favorite movie? What are your recommendations? Why not discuss about your favourite movies using the expressions introduced here!