Mothers and Child (Film Thoughts: True Mothers/Asa ga kuru)

Namo Kawase’s ‘True Mothers’ (Asa ga kuru) runs at almost two and a half hours, and yes, the story runs at a very slow pace. But it is such a powerful personal story that every minute savors. Kawase is a photographer spo each frame is beautifully set up (Hiroshima looks serenely perfect in here) and the story slowly cuts through your heart, and deep.

Satoko (Hiromi Nagasaku) cannot have a child because of her husband’s sperm is blocked, so they go through a non profit called Baby Baton to adopt a child through young mothers who cannot raise their babies.

Hikaru (Aju Makita) plays the fourteen year old teenager who gives birth to the child they adopt, and she is the heart of the piece. Hikaru goes throughg heartbreak after heartbreak and one day she shows up at the couple’s door step threatening to blackmail them about the child if they don’t pay her money. “Who are you,’ they reply. They met her when the baby was born and they can’t believe that tender young woman is the same one before their eyes.

There’ more to the story, of course, which is told through non-linear flashbacks. You get to know these characters fully, and they are certainly not one-dimensional. And you care for them, you want them to succeed, to capture their dreams. This is one of those films that caught me by surprise. It is such a simple story, but the emotions tied to it are complex. And all of it feels real.

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