Well, look at me. I was just bemoaning that there isn’t much to see nowadays, and we are in the doldrums of movie releases, when I see a film that is so good that it has invigorated my interest in seeing more films. Hikari’s ’37 Seconds’ is now streaming on Netflix and I cannot think of a better film to watch right this very minute.
The film is about Yuma (Mei Kayama) who is twenty three years old, and is suffering from cerebral palsy. She is mostly confined in a wheelchair, but she can use her upper body, and is in fact working as a manga illustrator, blind ghosting her cousin’s content. She knows her limitations in life, but yearns for more, and this movie explores her journey, and is a unique coming-of-age film, one that humanizes disabled people.
Yuma is stifled by her overbearing and overprotective mom, and the interesting dynamic when it seems like the mother feels emotionally dependent in her child. When Yuma tries to hawk her art to an adult manga company, she is told that her work is impressive, except for the sex scenes, which do not feel authentic. This sets off Yuma in an exploratory journey, which leads her to an experience that not only makes her know herself better, but physically takes her to Thailand.
The film takes a slower pace than usual so you have to be a little patient with it, but when ti does get moving, you will feel instantly engrossed. This is a frank film with adult themes, but it never felt salacious. You won’t be able to resist identifying with Yuma, and when she gets her revelation in the end, I was solely with her, copious tears and all. This is an emotional film that will get you to feel, and feel you must.