SWEET BEAN (An), from filmmaker Naomi Kawase. If you're a foreign film aficionado who enjoys a change of culture and attitudes -- not to mention the joys of cooking, eating and Japanese cherry blossoms -- I don't see how you can go wrong with this lovely, endearing movie.
Like Water for Chocolate to Chef and Haute Cuisine -- but none, I think, create anything as magical as the moments in which Tokue prepares that special sauce.
Kirin Kiki (Still Walking and Returner) is a marvel of tiny tics, big smarts and quiet strength, as real as she is odd and moving. Masatoshi Nagase (The Hidden Blade, Suicide Club, Mystery Train) has the fine ability to make the inner outer, while maintaining a tamped-down machismo. Kyara Uchida (from I Wish, and who is the granddaughter of Ms Kiki) plays the quiet student with a properly burgeoning sense of self-discovery and joy.
TrustMovies does not want to oversell this one because it is a small film -- even if its theme is, finally, quite a big one. I'll just say that my reaction after viewing it was one of gratitude.
Kino Lorber, the film opens this Friday, March 18, in New York City at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema, and is currently scheduled to play in nine other cities across the country, including here in South Florida at the Coral Gables Art Cinema on June 10. Click here then scroll down to see all playdates, cities and theaters.