Passed by cinemas in Tokyo and saw the lovely promotional posters of this movie. It took almost 1year to be shown in my country. After all there isn't a strong market for Japanese entertainment when K-wave's all the rage.
I was fairly surprised when Inagaki-san's 13 Assasins was shown a few months ago even though it was an award winning movie (i only remember Inagaki clinching the supporting role award). Space Battleship Yamato was shown abit earlier then but showing Kimura-san's is understandable as his bigger reach to other asian countries. The latter two did not attract me enough to pull me into the cinemas (perhaps that's the part about growing older or getting more choosy) even though a SMAP member had acting roles.
I am not really a sucker for stories with sad endings but i was sort of anticipating this one due to the common nature which portray a normal japanese family amid the story perhaps had stretched over their self encouraging nature. It is just way too normal for a Japanese movie/drama as i had observed. There is certainly some degree of feel good factor in the show considering how Japan entertainment countries likes to adapt or shoot commercial movies of such nature.
The review from some magazines from country were encouraging despite highlighting the feel good nature of such Japanese movies. One of the redeeming part was that they did not try to make use devastating or tearjerker tactics to amplify the nature the storyline.
The movie was only shown one screen with less than normal number of seats, something likely 70-80 seats at most. I am not too surprise the turnout was small even on a weekend. I had to agree that in my country it can be termed as a árt house movie ala many quiet scenes and different kind of storytelling mode. I had to suppress sipping my hastily bought drink softly to ensure the sound do not echo amongst the soundproofed walls.
I was expecting a storyline sticking close to the reality whereby the daily life of the couple are chronicle closely. Instead i find a picture that was peppered with weird science fiction scenes that reflected the figments of the husband's (the ever loveable Kusanagi-san) imagination. Someone being a sci-fi novelist will also have hard time keeping inspirations alive while penning an ''essay'' a day while he tried to milk every drop of his brain juice to put up the funniest stories to keep the laughter on for the first and biggest fan of his novels.
The weird situations of seeing colliding planets, aliens or robots in every nooks and corners is a bonus in this story which i believe do not shame the actual novel depictions (seems that the novel was adapted from a true life story). It is delightful to the written stories played out as if reading random essays and short stories. In fact, the loving wife being fleshed out by Takeuchi Yuko was a bonus due to the fact of the both leads chemistry and her knack of depicting sweet but emotionally strong women (see: Pride, Bara nai no hanaya and the recent drama with Matsumoto Jun). Someone like Setsuko will surely win the best wife award if there was any.
The story was made in the way that there is no evil character and everyone is surprisingly accomodating to the stubborn Sarutaro. The main characters were not made out to be real tragedy material. They were just made simple and the usual cruelties (aka movie cliché) like cold hearted publishers or gloating rivals did not make an appearance this time. In all, i felt it made the story more focused on the main themes of the doting yet cancer-stricken wife and the numerous imaginations of the naive husband.
Kusanagi did great as usual as the simple man who is spoilt by his wife and need not handle any family matters except indulging in his novel writing. Kusanagi's simple looks is also probably why he can flesh this role wholesomely and to many he is already a veteran on local screens or goggle-box who can handle this role with ease. Just like the way no one was over acting or the show can be handled with a light feeling when the curtains are closed.
Despite the irritation of the one gentleman who snores periodically and even made a remark 'the show is way too long' in boring manner did not dampen my feelings for this show. I was glad that his remark seems to be largely ignored by his companions. Leaving the cinema with a light heart after almost two hours is a nice feeling for a movie watched.
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