Review: All Around Us – Gururi no koto (2008)


All Around Us – Gururi no koto (2008)

Directed by: Ryosuke Hashiguchi | 140 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Lily Franky, Tae Kimura, Tamae Ando, ​​Hirofumi Arai, Mitsuko Baisho, Akira Emoto, Ryo Kase, Reiko Kataoka, Yuichi Kimura, Rie Minemura, Ken Mitsuishi, Yôichi Nukumizu, Yosuke Saito, Seiichi Tanabe, Minori Terajima, Susumu Takashi Yamanaka, Norito Yashima, Megumi Yokoyama

Kanao (Lily Franky) goes to work, meets some friends and comes home to his wife Shoko (Tae Kimura) who wants to sleep with him because it’s the X-day. Kanao tries to get out of this with all kinds of excuses, the relationship seems rather strained. Are these (often recognizable) things interesting enough to make a film about? Yes, by not using a real tension and just following the daily worries, you get the idea as if you are looking at an episode of your own life. Hashiguchi knows exactly how to strike the right chord. A deeply moving scene can be followed within a second by a more or less vulgar joke, and miraculously it’s right, everything fits. To combine drama, sadness and humor into life’s most pursued dream, love, is an art.

Kanao makes skits of people appearing in court. Here he meets the most diverse characters while at home with his wife he leads an inconspicuous life. When they lose their baby, their relationship continues to deteriorate. Can Kanao and Shoko escape this negative spiral? The scenes of Kanao’s work are very captivating, because in court he experiences the necessary scandals and crimes from the nineties. This includes the sarin attack on the Tokyo subway. The leader of the responsible sect (Cult of the Highest Truth) like Kanao’s wife is called Shoko, coincidence? Hashiguchi probably indicates the closedness of Shoko, how difficult it is for her to get in touch with the outside world. This closeness – Kanao is not a talking point either – makes for the most intense scenes between Kanao and Shoko. Two introverted people who can’t express their feelings well and therefore seem like strangers to each other. Yet the power of love, which hangs like an invisible thread between the two protagonists, is always present. The affection between Kanao and Shoko is increasingly evident, although it requires a lot of drama. It remains a wonderful fact that bad events often drive people apart and sometimes bring people closer together. The dramatic elements of the story are not presented in a big way, but they do hit like a bomb. This is in large part due to the magnificent playing of Tae Kimura (‘After Life’) and Lily Franky. Both act so naturally that you don’t have the idea that you are watching actors for a second, they are ordinary people who sit out the ordinary life in which they are sometimes intensely unhappy and wonder why you are doing it all.

Perhaps the film is a bit slow in construction, a number of scenes are drawn out too long and not everything can be explained, but this does not detract from this little masterpiece. The little things make life special, clichéd, but portrayed in a completely innovative and intriguing way. It is also very nice that enough attention is given to the characters with supporting roles. In this way the film gets more body and it comes across as very realistic. ‘All Around Us’ is a beautiful film that is full of interesting characters, bizarre dialogues and downright strange situations. Above all, it is a film about finding inspiration in your life, and where can you find it? Right, ‘All Around Us’.

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