MCN Blogs
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

Review: I Wish



I Wish
, a tale of two young brothers separated by their estranged parents who wish for their family to be reunited and happy, is a rare gem of a little film, the kind of film adult cinema lovers will enjoy for its quiet beauty and keen understanding of childhood, but that older kids might appreciate as well. While writer-director Hirokazu Koreeda has clearly made a film about children intended for adults, I Wish could also be a great choice for introducing older kids to a film with subtitles — and to the concept that a story about kids doesn’t have to be action packed or have aliens or zombies or lots of explosions to be worth watching. The themes here around family, loss and forgiveness are universal, and kids from any culture can easily relate to the ways in which we grownups complicate their young lives.

Koichi (Koki Maeda) and his younger brother Ryu (Oshiro Maeda) have separated for six months, with Koichi living with their mother on one end of the island and Ryu on the other with their father. The two boys maintain communication via cell phone conversations which are so well-conceived they could be used in a master class on how to write this kind of dialogue. It’s heart-rending and lovely, as is almost everything about this film. When a new bullet train line is built, the two brothers get it in their heads that at the very moment the opposite trains pass each other for the first time, you can make a wish and it will come true. With a pack of friends eager to make their own wishes, Koichi and Ryu try the only way they can think of to reunite their family.

It’s a simple enough story, but Koreeda’s writing makes it delicately complex as he interweaves subplot and character to create this realistically flawed, yet hopeful family. I always think it’s rather ballsy for a writer-director to filter a feature-length film through the perspective of a character who’s a child. It’s a tricksy thing to pull off, relying on a kid (or kids) to carry your entire film, but Koreeda also displays an able hand working with his engaging young actors, who charm in every frame.

Leave a Reply

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I’m a governor in the Academy, so I cannot talk freely. We have meetings that are sometimes filled with disputes, but everything stays in the room. But I can tell you that this is a full industry issue. The Oscar nominations are for achievements at the top of someone’s career. It’s less an Academy issue than an employer issue. Employers have to hire with diversity for people to do content that can become choices for Academy members to nominate. I dispute the notion Academy members vote by race or gender. The choices presented to Academy voters are the choices presented by the industry, which elected which movies to make and which people to hire. The real change has to occur at the base. It’s a huge issue.”
~ Michael Mann On Diversity

“Jonas Mekas spoke a lot about ‘necessity’ last night at the Film Society. “Why do anything if it’s not needed,” he asked at one point. Mekas said that he created a publication, wrote for the Village Voice, founded an archive, because it was necessary.

“Somebody had to do it,” the 93 year old Mekas said, standing during the entire hourlong Q&A. He also spoke to the notion of curation: “If I see something I like, I don’t really enjoy it unless I can share it with others.”
~ Jonas Mekas, via Eugene Hernandez