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

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.