Japanese Melancholy (Film Thoughts: Oh Lucy!)

1lucAtsuko Hirayanagi’s ‘Oh Lucy’ is one of those movies that is a portrait of the art of melancholy, and that’s one of my favorite genres. It tells of how loneliness shapes a person’s life, and how one can react to an escape from it. This film is bookended by scenes at a Japanese train station, presumably a metaphor on how people come in and out of our lives in myriads of ways, and most of the time, they serve a purpose. Shinobu Terajima is Setsuko, alonely woman in a boring job. She gets enrolled in an American English class and meets a handsome teacher John(Josh Hartnett) and from there gets tangled in a spiral of a story. The journey takes her to Southern California with her sister and niece – and John, and in the process she finds herself, but not without some emotional collateral damage. If there is one word I can use to describe the film, it’s unpredictable. The film takes you different places, but they never seem gimmicky, and you even feel like everything makes sense and believable. This is mostly because of a great performance from Terajima, who transfers from a shy and meek Japanese woman to one thrust in California sunshine, hanging out at seedy motels lu2and dirty tattoo parlors. Hartnett is great here, too a boorish ugly American, but much more than that, thanks to his sensitive performance, showing sensitivity and vulnerability, and he is still fine as freak, too. I really do wish he becomes more visible. I really can’t help but really be taken by this film, and even relate to it, as I have started this new chapter of living life truly alone. This is a great film filled with sadness, and for me, a reflection of what is real in life a lot of times.

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