Friday, December 13, 2013

Movie Review - Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

It is Christmas Eve in Tokyo, Japan.  Three homeless friends: an alcoholic middle aged man, a transvestite, and a runaway teenage girl, find a baby while foraging through the trash.  Hana, the transvestite, wants to take care of the little girl as her own, claiming the incident a miracle.

The next day they soon find out that a baby requires care that they cannot supply, so the trio sets out on a quest to find the little girl's real parents.  This journey reunites each of them with friends and family of the past, confronting their most personal internal conflicts and prior wrongdoings.  Were they destined to find this baby?  Was there a higher power involved in their mission?

Tokyo Godfathers was co-written and co-directed by the late great Satoshi Kon, the creator of fine work such as Perfect Blue or Millennium Actress.  Despite the amount of comedic bits throughout, this film has a surprising amount of grit and depressive ambiance.  The streets are cold, unwelcoming, and filled with many struggles just to survive.  Each character's sad past is filled with violence or pain.  They don't get that well along with each other either.  Beauty does eventually emerge when serendipitous events start to draw them closer together, creating second chances and rekindling the hope that everyone's life has a purpose. 

Tokyo Godfathers is available for stream on Netflix

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violent images, language and some sexual material


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