|I WISH (KISEKI)
(director/writer: Hirokazu Koreeda;
Yamasaki; editor: Hirokazu
Koreeda; music: Quruli; cast:
Koki Maeda (Koichi), Ohshiro Maeda (Ryunosuke),
Ryoga Hayashi (Tasuku), Seinosuke Nagayoshi (Makoto),
Kyara Uchida (Megumi), Kanna Hashimoto (Kanna), Rento
Isobe (Rento), Nene Ohtsuka (Nozomi), Joe Odagiri
(Kenji), Yui Natsukawa (Kyoko), Masami Nagasawa (Ms.
Mimura), Isao Hashizume
(grandfather), Kirin Kiki (grandmother),
Hiroshi Abe (Teacher); Runtime: 128; MPAA Rating: NR;
producers: Kentaro Koike/Hijiri Taguchi;
Magnolia Pictures; 2011-Japan-in Japanese with English
"A pleasing but slow-moving family drama."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda ("After Life"/"Still Walking"/"Nobody Knows") helms a pleasing but slow-moving family drama of two once inseparable charming energetic elementary-school brothers, the sixth grader Koichi (Koki Maeda) and his younger sibling Ryu (Ohshiro Maeda), who are real-life brothers. They now live apart and scheme to come up with a plan to bring their divorced parents back together so they can once again live together as four in Osaka as before the separation. Their mom Nozomi (Nene Ohtsuka) has moved with Koichi to the volcano city of Kagoshima to live in the backwater small-town with her old-fashioned parents (Isao Hashizume & Kirin Kiki), whereby mom works as a supermarket cashier. Meanwhile the unstable conventional worker dad, Kenji (Joe Odagiri), lives in in his hometown bustling city of Fukuoka with Ryu and aspires to get his act together as a guitarist with a struggling rock band.
the adults show no signs of wanting to get together
again, the kids believe that if one makes a
wish at exactly the place and moment that two new
bullet trains first pass each other, for some
miraculous reason the wish will come true. There are
many problems with this plan, starting with meeting
the expense of the train tickets to get them to the
midway point, finding a way to get out of school and
their homes for the day, getting help from a few
peers, and some questions of figuring out the timing
of putting their elaborate plan into operation. When
it comes time to make their wishes, the children learn
a life lesson that wishes are subject to change.
are also subplots to accompany the child adventure
story, such as the misplaced contempt the kids in Kagoshima
have for their well-intentioned but gruff homeroom
teacher (Hiroshi Abe) and how they have a
crush on the nice young school librarian (Masami
Nagasawa). In Fukuoka, cutie pie Ryu
hangs with a group of girls who coddle him, one of
whom is aspiring actress (Kyara Uchida).
Her pretty mother, Kyoko (Yui Natsukawa),
formerly lived in Tokyo and failed to become a star as
an actress and now feels like a failure running a bar
in town and is so embittered with her acting
experience she discourages her daughter in pursuing an
acting career. Meanwhile the boys' loopy maternal
grandparents keep alert with granny taking hula
lessons and grandpa trying to bring back to favor an
old-fashioned traditional karuna cake, now out of
style, to be part of the grand opening hoopla
surrounding the arrival of the bullet train.
REVIEWED ON 12/14/2012 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ