Synopsis

In Kagoshima, the boy Koichi lives with his mother Nozomi in the house of his grandparents. Koichi misses his younger brother Ryunosuke and his father Kenji, who live in Fukuoka, and he dreams of his family coming together again. One day, Koichi overhears that the energy released by two bullet trains passing by each other would grant wishes and he invites his two best friends, Tasuku and Makoto, to travel to the point of intersection of the two trains. Koichi also tells his plan to Ryunosuke that invites his three best friends to join him. Soon the seven children arrive to the meeting point in the journey of discoveries.

Director

Hirokazu Kore-eda

Cast

Koki Maeda
as Koichi
Oshiro Maeda
as Ryoonosuke Kinami
Nene Otsuka
as Nozomi Osako
Joe Odagiri
as Kenji Kinami
Kyara Uchida
as Megumi Ariyoshi

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by flickernatic 8 /10

When The Train Comes Along . . .

This is the story of two young Japanese brothers who live apart following the break-up of their parents' relationship. The older boy dreams of his family reuniting and prays for a miraculous intervention in the form of a volcanic eruption, hoping this might lead to his evacuation from his grandparents' region and a return home. Then, when he discovers that the passing of the speeding Bullet trains, approaching from opposite directions, creates a 'cosmic' moment during which wishes are granted, he sets out with a few friends to meet his brother at the meeting point on the railway line. There they make their wishes - with varying results.

The two brothers are forced to deal with the consequences of their parents' choices, ones they have had no part in making. Their belief, to varying degrees, in the power of 'faith' (believing that wishes can come true) then leads them to have to face the consequences of their own choices. Given their youthful immaturity, there is real poignancy in witnessing their confrontation with some harsh realities.

The movie features brilliant performances from the young actors and an excellent supporting cast of adults. There is also gorgeous and evocative cinematography, scenes of the Japanese countryside and its urban impositions, not least the Bullet line itself elevated on its concrete trackbed.

It takes some time, too long perhaps, for the story to gain momentum. But once the youngsters embark on their journey to meet the trains, the story moves at a brisker, more engaging pace. The climax (yes there is a climax, contrary to the view of another reviewer) brings moments of intense beauty and sharp sadness, regret for the loss of childish innocence of as well as optimism in the hope for a better future.

So this is a slow-burner, but persistence brings rewards. Recommended.

(Viewed at The Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK 21.02.13)

Reviewed by jamesdamnbrown N/A

more magic from Koreeda

If, as many have pointed out, Koreeda is Ozu's cinematic heir, then I Wish is Koreeda's take on Ozu's Good Morning. Both films focus on adorable young kids and Japanese family life, and I have no qualms about saying between the two films, Koreeda easily outdoes Ozu. Not only is Koreeda's depiction of children subtler and more intuitive (no fart jokes here), but he coaxes wonderfully naturalistic performances from his child actors. Is there a director alive who does better work with kids than Koreeda? The movie really takes flight once the kids hit the road on their quest, and I loved the Ozu-ish part where they meet an elderly couple that takes in all the children for a night. Just a wonderful movie with tons of heart. Puts the human in humanistic filmmaking.

Reviewed by claudio_carvalho 8 /10

Simple and Sensitive Tale of Loss of Innocence

In Kagoshima, the boy Koichi (Koki Maeda) lives with his mother Nozomi (Nene Ohtsuka) in the house of his grandparents. Koichi misses his younger brother Ryunosuke (Ohshirô Maeda) and his father Kenji (Jô Odagiri), who live in Fokuoko, and he dreams on his family coming together again. One day, Koichi overhears that the energy released by two bullet trains passing by each other would grant wishes and he invites his two best friends, Tasuku (Ryôga Hayashi) and Makoto (Seinosuke Nagayoshi), to travel to the point of intersection of the two trains. Koichi also tells his plan to Ryunosuke that invites his three best friends to join him. Soon the seven children arrive to the meeting point in the journey of discoveries.

"Kiseki" is a simple and sensitive tale of loss of innocence of children that need to face reality instead of immature and naive dreams. The come of age of Koichi that accepts the divorce of his parents and of Megumi (Kyara Uchida) that decides to move to Tokyo to become an actress and Makoto that decides to bury his dog are clearly are depicted in the story. Ryunosuke is still a child and believes that his wish is the responsible for the chance his father and his friends will have in their career of musicians.

The direction of Hirokazu Koreeda and the performances are top-notch and the movie shows landscapes of the countryside of Japan that are unusual in Japanese features. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Que Eu Mais Desejo" ("What I Desire the Most")

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