I Wish portrays the close bond of brotherhood and the lengths a child will go to in order to preserve that special bond that a only a brother can fulfill. Koichi and Ryunosuke are separated because of their parents divorce. To any child, a distance of any sort seems as if it is impossible to beat. This naive innocence is something which is unique to children and something which Hirokazu Koreeda, the director and script writer, seems to capture in this Japanese film.
The two schoolboys lead almost completely different lives due to the upheaval in their family. Koichi lives with his mother and grandparents in a rural like area and Ryunosuke with his dad, being carted around to his different musical gigs. In their innocence and because of Koichi’s drive to see his brother once more; a plan is made to reunite via the new bullet train route which will connect thier homes. The selling of toys,bribing grandpa and a few freedom loving friends and they’re off. But of course, kids dont always see the big picture. Sometimes things are just too simple.
What I like about this movie is it dealt with major social issues in any society such as divorce, money and education from a kids point of view. You understand Koichi’s frustration at his family situation and the attitude of “if mum and dad were back together then we’d all be fine”. Koki Maeda and Ohshirô Maeda who play the two brothers really carry the film well, really making you want to believe that this bullet train connection between their towns will bring them back together forever. The humorous relationship between Koichi and his grandfather is something that brings a lighter aspect to the film, with the grandad trying to think of a new business venture for the new train and testing it out on Koichi. It was sweet and a nice contrast to the relationships of the other kids and their parents which are shown.
As much as the balance between humour and seriousness is met; there were a couple of shortfalls which may deduct a little from your experience. The difficulty I found was due to the references to Japanese culture. Because of this,there were a few times where you sort of felt as if you’d missed a joke or something important.Unfortunately the story did tend to drag on a little as well. Near the end, there were quite a few places which could have provided a satisfactory conclusion but it went on a bit.
All in all, it was an enjoyable experience. Not too lighthearted but thought provoking and innocent. I’m going to give this a 3 popcorns out of 5. Head along and introduce yourself to the Japanese provinces.
Reviewed by: Abbey Pitchford