I suppose in my ideal world, Mitsushima Hikari would remain the elfin-faced queen of downbeat characters in oddball films like Love Exposure or Kakera. Of course, this isn’t going to happen: people change and actors want new challenges. Recently I saw her as a giggly schoolgirl in the morning drama Ohisama, which was a bit odd. I expected her to suddenly punch a window or something. But she didn’t.
However, this film from 2010 fits into the little Mitsushima-shaped hole in my mind perfectly. In it she plays a frustrated underachiever, Sawako, leading an unremarkable life in Tokyo. She gets a call from her uncle saying her father is dying and she has to take over the business based in a town in the country. She is convinced to go by her boyfriend, who thinks it’ll be good to get closer to nature.
The trouble about films with this kind of cold, distant atmosphere is that they may be enjoyable, but it’s hard to get too excited about it. Compared to most other comedies, this is pretty bleak and hopeless, but it is funny and if you watch it in the right mood, who knows, it may become a favourite.