Saturday, 25 June 2011

Just watched: Sawako Decides

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.

As a comedy, it’s very deadpan, but still amusing. People seem to drift through the film, nobody’s actions have any long-lasting effect and the storyline is something of a mess. The fundamental message is about honouring your family, but lots of other things are thrown into the pot: the gossip about Sawako from the locals, the state of the business, and Sawako’s boyfriend’s daughter who is an enigmatic, wordless observer of the actions around her.

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.


  1. I just saw Akunin, and Mitsushima was in it - funny, considering I had just re-watched Love Exposure over the weekend.

    Good to know that the film is one of those "in the right mood" films. Keep it in mind xD

  2. She's great in Akunin. I like how she doesn't mind playing an unpleasant character.

  3. In the extras for Love Exposure she said that from all characters she's played she was most like her character in LE. xD That kind of... threw me off a little bit in a scary kind of way. LOL