While its title may spark mental images of dragons or Vanna White, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is a simple and unassuming trio of momentary romances. There are no flashy shots or edits on display in this feature.
Instead, Hamaguchi allows the conversations between the couples to shine, in what feels like an ode to the naturalistic mumblecore genre. The film reminds us just how sexually charged a singular conversation can be; how the verbal form can often exude more eroticism than the physical act of sex.
The modern invention of email may act as the common catalyst to the reignition of old flames in Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy. However, Hamaguchi proves that no form of technology will ever be able to replace the communicative passion of a face to face interaction.
The Silver Lining
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy‘s script, written by director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, is one of the finest and most nuanced screenplays of the year. The conversations between these three couples are chocked full of poignant points about regret and loneliness that are still rattling about in my brain, despite it being nearly a week since I watched the film.
It’s challenging to develop characters who feel as though they live beyond the page. But for those in Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, they have nestled their way into my consciousness, where they’ll continue to live on long after the film falls out of the public sphere.
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy was a part of Lake Placid Film Festival’s 2021 feature film lineup. The film releases in select theaters this Friday, October 29th. For a full list of theaters, please click here.