First off, I feel I must give this warning for potential watchers of this film. Some of the main themes such as religion, cult and sexuality are brought in to the forefront. If you are uncomfortable with these controversial themes at all, this probably isn't the movie for you. Were a rating to be released in the US for this movie, it would probably be an R or higher. That being said, these themes are acknowledged tastefully and with a purpose.
The characterization is beautiful and the acting is so breathtaking. It's no surprise that Love Exposure won 14 awards and was nominated for 2 others.
The storyline follows three characters, teenagers who have been abused by their parents. The main male character, Yu, is a devout Catholic whose father entered priesthood after the death of their wife and mother. However, his father becomes involved with a woman who eventually runs off. His father changes and forces Yu to come to confessionals every day and force him to confess sins that he didn't commit. Yu is forced to lie to his father but when he is discovered, he feels he must actually commit sins so he won't lie be lying to his father. These sins become more and more heinous until finally he starts taking sneak pictures up girl's dresses. He doesn't take these pictures to be turned on, but instead to merely have sins he can confess.
One day, his friends dare him to dress as a woman and go kiss a girl he likes. He helps to save a girl, Yoko, from thugs and kisses her before he runs away. His life takes a turn when his father's lover returns with Yoko in two and the two become adopted siblings. However, there is someone on the outside, the third character, who is craftily maneuvering their lives so as to induct them into the cult religion, the Zero Church. It's up to Yu to maintain his own faith as he travels through the underworld in order to find the third girl out and save his family from being converted into the cult.
This story is twisted from start to finish and the cinematography is well-thought out and gorgeous. The movie is four hours long, but flies by. Every second is filled with a fantastic romance meets comedy meets thriller storyline. I rate the story five stars out of five. This movie has easily become one of my favorite films of all time.