Friday, 13 August 2010

Movie Review: 東京铁塔 - オカンとボクと、時々オトン (5*)

Tokyo Tower - Mum and Me, and sometimes Dad is an adaption of the best-selling novel by Lily Franky of the same title. I have not read the book (it's in Japanese) but when I saw this in the DVD shop, I was attracted by the picture on the cover and the synopsis of the story. It's actually an autobiography. Lily Franky リリフランキー is the stage name of Nakagawa Masaya 中川雅哉, the male lead role in the movie. Lily Franky is from Franky Goes to Hollywood and his nickname from the University Yuri, which means Lily.

The movie opens with an unwelcomed entrance of Masaya's dad, Nakagawa Koji, an irresponsible, absent father (hence the title) who brings nothing but pain and trouble to the family. An artist who had a painting he never really completed, he weaved in and out of Masaya's life as he grew up. The story centres on Masaya's mother, Nakagawa Eiko, a self-sacrficial and doting mother who gave her entire life for her son.

Blessed with Koji's artistic talent, Masaya made it to an art school in Tokyo but was sucked in by the distractions and lures of the city. He wasted away his mother's hard-earned money on a decadent lifestyle and almost dropped out of school but somehow miraculously graduated after hanging on for one more year. The turning point of his life came when he found out his mother contracted cancer and was determined to work hard and pay back mum for all that she has done.

When Masaya became financially able, he invited his mother to live with him in Tokyo and that's when the tear ducts started working really hard. The scenes of how he walked with her through her final journey made me cry buckets. The post-chemo sessions were heart-wrenching to watch. From the middle of the show onwards, I was crying non-stop :'(

Although Eiko died in the end (which is very realistic), the ending felt very complete and peaceful. In her letter to Masaya, she said something like, "Although I failed in my marriage, I was blessed with a sweet son... Thank you for letting me die in happiness."

Very very touching movie =) Oh oh, the young mother is played by the biological daughter, Yayako Uchida, of the old lady, Kiki Kirin, who played the aged mother =)

The theme song is by the very handsome Masaharu Fukuyama 福山雅治. His voice is so man... =D