Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.
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Rena Tanaka plays Satoka, a teenage girl who finds a long ago love letter written to her sick mom (not written by her father), a first love she didn't know about. She sets out to find this person, first traveling pretty far to find he has moved to Tokyo. She tracks him down and tries to get him to see her mom, who spends most of this film in the hospital. This kind of film rises and falls on the strength of the main character, and Ms. Tanaka does a great job. You look into her eyes and see many things, happiness, pain etc. You understand the motivations of her character, even if sometimes you question them yourself. The film is a meditation on family, love and what might have been. Its sentimental and it'll move you. I think Ms. Tanaka did a great job, she carried the film admirably. I'd recommend this film for anyone who likes this brand of sentiment in films. Its absorbing throughout.
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