Masaya's parents were separated when he was a small
child. He became the center of his mother's world. He studied
and fooled around in Tokyo.
One day after 15 years, he finds out his mother has cancer.
Masaya hence invites her to live with him in Tokyo. His life
begins to take a better turn. His mother has brought happiness,
warmth and encouragement to him as well as people around him.
However, nothing last forever; the day that they all have
feared is drawing near; the day Masaya's loving mother will
fade into his memories.
As I type this review, I think of my mother who is probably
thinking why her son refuses to sleep at such an unearthly
hour. When he was younger, he used to listen to everything
she says, and some 27 years later, whatever she says is more
often than not, nagging, to him. Which is why I feel a sense
of connection after watching this Japanese film about a young
man’s memories about his wonderful mother.
142-minute story is told through a series of flashbacks, chronicling
Masaya’s growing up years – how his father left
the family when he was young, how he pursued his education
with his mother’s support, and how he eventually took
off with his career with his mother’s encouragement.
The titular Tokyo Tower plays a central role from beginning
to end, where it begins construction, and eventually becomes
the swanky tourist attraction which Masaya’s mother
would love to visit before she dies. And how can any warm-blooded
human being not be touched by this family drama?
cast here is top notch – Joe Odagiri (Retribution) plays
the lead character with an affective and earnest persona that
is almost likeable immediately. Yayako Uchida and Kikikilin
(Returner) play the important role of Masaya’s mother
at different ages. Interestingly, Kikikilin is Uchida’s
mother in real life, which makes this casting even more interesting.
Each actress brings her own unique touch to the loving mother
character. Other supporting characters are played by the reliable
Takako Matsu (Hero) and Kaoru Kohayashi (Princess Mononoke).
movie is adapted from Lily Franky’s popular novel. Also,
like the popular TV series “Hero” which was adapted
into a movie, this Joji Matsuoka-directed drama also has its
following of loyal TV viewers. Thankfully, the movie version
does not fare too badly, despite its more than predictable
plot (come on, who doesn’t love a tearjerker involving
a cancer-stricken mother, a load of nice memories and a sappy
soundtrack to go along?). Besides, the cinematography by Norimichi
Kasamatsu is pretty to look at, with the Tokyo Tower making
its presence felt at the different prominently significant
portions of the movie.
what will make you remember this picture fondly is its message
about how things have changed as you grow up. All those lovely
memories about your doting parents will flood you at some
point in time during your life. For me, I think it is now,
at this unearthly hour when I should heed my mother’s
advice and turn in to sleep soon.
This Code 3 DVD contains a “Trailer”
and several “TV Spots” for the
hit movie which won numerous awards at the 31st Japan Academy
Awards. There is also a 30-minute “Making Of”
which shows you how the filmmakers built an authentic tin-mining
village set and how certain portions of the original novel
is translated on screen. A “Photo Gallery”
rounds up the special features included on this disc.
visual transfer is pristine enough for the enjoyment of the
magnificent Tokyo Tower. The movie is presented in its original
Japanese audio soundtrack.
Review by John Li