Archive for February 19th, 2012

The Taste Of Tea (2004)

This movie revolves around the unconventional Haruno family who live in a rural location just outside of Tokyo in Tochigi prefecture and what they get up to in their daily lives. The mother of the household is a budding freelance anime artist, the father is a hypnotherapist, the grandfather is an eccentric person who has a tendency to sing around the house, likes to listen to a tuning fork and strike martial arts poses. There are 2 children in the household. Teenager Hajime who falls in love with a pretty transfer student and decides to join the Go (it’s a type of board game) Club as she’s in it and little Sachiko who sees a gigantic version of herself following her all the time and wondering why this is happening. Rounding off the quirky cast is Uncle Ayano, a sound mixer by trade who has come to the family home to contemplate and clear his head.

This delightfully surreal, whimsical, sweet and gentle comedy is fantastic and took me completely by surprise. It’s full of strange incidents and is unlike anything you might have seen before. The movie is character-driven without a lot of plot and the pace of the movie is very leisurely. It wonderfully captures the worries and obsessions of a family which are brought to life by their minds. The ensemble cast are really good and excel in their roles. Asano Tadanobu (the king of indie Japanese cinema) is probably the stand out and steals every scene he’s in as Uncle Ayano. Tatsuya Gashuin as the grandfather is the one who provides the most laughs. All of the cast create wonderful and interesting characters which is crucial in this type of movie. The cinematography is outstanding as we see beautiful rural scenes of Japan with a soundtrack that compliments the gentle tone of the movie. Many have said this is similar to what director Yasujiro Ozu did in the past – amusing tales of a family’s ordinary life.

I fear some people’s patience might be tested with the running time (143 mins) so if you’re one who likes a movie that moves at breakneck speed this might not be something you like but if you have the time to watch a unique movie you won’t be disappointed. The sheer imagination of the character’s lives portrayed on screen is amazing. It’s original, very funny, and insightful. Just sit back, open your eyes, and enjoy the sights on screen. A must-see for anybody that wants to be surprised when they watch a movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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