Sawako Decides

"Excellent"

Sawako Decides Review


This Japanese comedy-drama's original title translates as "Hello From the Bottom of the River", echoing the sense that we're powerless against life's strong currents. And the combination of black wit and warm emotion is surprisingly hopeful.

After five years, five jobs and five boyfriends in Tokyo, Sawako (Mitsushima) is tired of settling for second best. Constantly belittled at work, her nice-nerd boyfriend Kenichi (Endo) wants her to be a mother to his 4-year-old daughter Kayoko (Aihara) from a previous marriage. Then her father (Iwamatsu) falls ill and her uncle (Shiga) summons her home to run the family river clam-packing business. So she heads back home, accompanied by Kenichi and Kayoko. Can she tough it out and give it her best shot?

The film is dryly hilarious as Sawako acknowledges that she's nothing special but becomes increasingly tetchy about being pushed around. Writer-director Ishii continually catches us off-guard with hilarious interaction, usually a sharp glance or a silly gesture in a scene that otherwise should be darkly disturbing. And Sawako's matter-of-fact approach is extremely amusing, especially as she's forced to return to a life she ran away from five years earlier.

The cast is terrific, playing these relentlessly unexceptional people in realistic ways that are funny and sometimes surprisingly emotional. Endo's always-knitting Kenichi is often the butt of the joke, especially when he runs off with Sawako's former nemesis (Suzuki), but his journey is unexpectedly engaging. And Mitsushima holds the film together as a young women who chooses to stand up for herself. And the black comedy is continually underscored by real human warmth.

Although slightly overlong, the film is shot in a straightforward way that underscores ordinariness, showing how outside pressures determine our fate unless we make difficult choices. Sawako's escape to Tokyo five years earlier was one of those, and now here she is again. On the other hand, maybe she can make something of this life And find herself in the process. Cleverly, there are no cathartic moments of self-discovery. as Ishii allows the characters to come of age by embracing their mediocrity. This might not be a revolutionary message, but it's helpful to be reminded that we can be happy even if we don't achieve some five-year plan.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st May 2010

Distributed by: Avex Entertainment

Production compaines: Avex Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Yuya Ishii

Producer: Mayumi Amano

Starring: as Sawako, Kotaro Shiga as Tadao, Ryô Iwamatsu as Nobuo, Kira Aihara as Kayoko, as Kenichi

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.