C-could it be? Could it really be? A live adaptation of a yuri property that respects the original? Like, it really, honest-to-god reminds me of why I love said property in the first place? Give me a moment....
The Marimite movie is a suitably (but not slavishly) faithful adaptation of the first arc, wherein Sachiko makes Yumi her petite soeur. A big smile came on my face as soon as the movie opened with Yumi narrating the "walking slowly is preferred" speech, and came again as Sachiko fixed Yumi's tie, the Yamayurikai was introduced, Yumi and Sachiko played the piano together and danced, every time "Maria-sama no Kokoro" was sung, etc, etc.
The people who worked on this movie did a wonderful job of recreating Lillian and its atmosphere. (Complete with the soundtrack Marimite fans are used to.) It was especially nice to see the Yamayurikai room in live-action.
Every actress did a good job of bringing her character to life. (I was surprised by how much Sei's actress sounded like Toyoguchi Megumi. Big kudos to her for that.) The only noticeable crack in the acting was when Yumi cried while being questioned about the rumors about her and Sachiko. (I remembered that scene during a sweet part of the "Making of" extra, when Yumi's actress cried for real while talking about how much she liked working on the movie.) The actor who played Kashiwagi didn't successfully project Kashiwagi's presence, but his role was really minor- and how many people are watching this movie for him? Sachiko was the cool Oneesama with a petulant streak, Youko was deliciously crafty, Yumi was the Yumi we know, Shimako was lovely, Sei rocked (she was still all over Yumi, making Sachiko react with the Lillian equivalent of, "Step off, bitch. She's mine."), Eriko had a mischievous glint, Rei was the gentle school Prince (her hair is a little longer in the movie, but it looks nice), and Yoshino had a slightly larger role than in previous versions of this arc. (Her role- and really, the entire Yellow Rose family's role- in this arc is pretty tiny. Since this is the only Marimite movie we're getting- I would kill for Ibara no Mori/White Petals to be adapted to live-action- the writers did the Yoshino fans a favor by giving her a few more lines.) Even Tsutako was well-cast.
Overall: If you're a fan of Marimite, it's a must-see. If you've never read/watched anything Marimite, I would recommend the novels or anime first. This movie is accessible for newcomers, but like the Marimite drama CDs, it's really, clearly meant to be a gift for the established fans. I'll say A- ;-)
And...I decided to get the Blu Ray/DVD limited edition version. It comes with a lot of extras, as it ought to for what it costs (I virtually never buy DVDs or Blu Rays from Japan): a small poster with a picture of the cast on one side and messages from the cast on the other side; a really soft, small pink blanket with a smiling Yumi on it (my life is officially complete now that I have a Marimite blanket to keep myself warm on those cold winter nights); on the DVD, a commentary track for the movie, a video of the actresses and Kashiwagi's actor answering questions about the movie at a fan event, a segment in which the actresses are paired (or in the Yellow Roses' case, grouped in three) to talk about each other and their characters, and a "Making of" video. I can't watch the Blu Ray here at my dorm, but Amazon JP says that it comes with the cute-sounding flash animation that played before the movie when it was in theaters.
Here's hoping this movie gets licensed in English!