painfully sad but beautiful movie based on real events in Japan
In some ways I am sorry I saw this. I feel profoundly sad after seeing this but I am glad I saw it as well. This is a heartbreakingly realistic film about a group of children abandoned by their mother and fending for themselves. Kore-Eda, the director, imagined that their lives couldn't have been all tragedy or something would have happened and their plight would have been revealed. This movie is an attempt to show the beauty of childhood against the stark reality of parental neglect. The acting by the children is superb. The 12 year old lead won 'best actor' at Cannes. There are so many beautiful directorial touches and so much left to the viewer to interpret that the viewer becomes intimately involved in understanding the motivations of all the characters. I almost feel as if I were a silent participant in the events. The film was based on a true story in Japan, which was much much worse than the events in the film.
The kind of film that stays with you afterwards...
I first watched this film in Japanese with a 12 year old translating for me and I still thought it was incredible. There are so many wonderful touches, like a tin can in the stream while the kids are fascinated by a fish, or the flying scenes (I'm convinced that Ang Lee thought of Miyazaki when he made The Hulk, just in terms of the jumping scenes) that show a curious mind at work throughout the picture. I also love the sense of magic and innocence (and the lack of violence) which pervades the movie. It is a real antidote from the Disney formula which always involves a villain being trashed at the end. This is a film about the wonder of being a child and experiencing something incredible which adults can't see but recognize nonetheless. It works for any age as well. Enjoy.