Film Review: ‘I Wish’ by Erica Laxson


I Wish is the truly heartfelt story of two young Japanese boys separated by distance, but connected by their brotherly love. Young Koichi (Ohshiro MAEDA) lives with his mother and her family in Kagoshima, separated by hundreds of miles from his father and brother, Ryunosuke (Koki MAEDA) in Hakata. While the underlying issues their guardians face are far from childish, I Wish is the perfect film for any precocious child’s first foreign film experience. If they love to learn and experience news things, I Wish’s intimate look at the every day life of two Japanese school boys will delight their inquisitive minds.

(L-R) Joe Odagiri, Koki Maeda, Nene Ohtsuka, and Ohshiro Maeda in `I Wish.'

Torn apart by the divorce and their parents’ childish bickering, Koichi longs to see his family reunited and sets his heart on fulfilling his desires, no matter what. Once news of a new train connecting the two towns catch his attention, Koichi decides to take matters into his own hands, and convinces young Ryunosuke to go along with the plan. The brothers set off with willing school companions, wishing for the magical force created by two passing bullet trains to grant their requests. Each faces his own set of challenges, as do their entertaining, and often thought provoking classmates.

We are shown the weaknesses and strengths of every adult in their life, and the blunt honesty of childish eyes is refreshing when so many seemingly trivial events are peppered by white lies. Both Mother (Nene Ohtsuka ) and Father (Jô Odagiri) mean well, but to Koichi and Ryu, nobody quite understands their feelings.

Director Hirokazu Kore-Eda, expertly immerses us into Koichi’s world of with graceful shots displaying the rugged beauty only Japanese countryside can boast. Prepare to spend most of the film desperately making your own wish; to ditch your complicated life and join these brothers on their adventure through love, honesty, and understanding.

(L-R) Ohshiro Maeda and Koki Maeda in 'I Wish.'

I Wish opens on May 11th in New York and LA and opens in other cities in June. Check the Magnolia website for a theater near you.
Running time: 128 minutes
Rating PG

Directed by Hirokazu KORE-EDA; Screenplay by Hirokazu Koreeda; Edited by Hirokazu Koreeda; and Cinematography by Yutaka Yamasaki.

LINKS
I Wish website.

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