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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

nice warm and a funny film

9/10
Author: mattwakeman (mattwakeman@hotmail.com) from cardiff uni
30 November 2001

Although this is a film about a subject which has been covered before (gay couple and then along comes a woman who decides that she would like to have a child by one of them and the fall-outs and tensions that are created by this) it is a really nice and i found genuinely affecting film.

The film also strays into the territory of the changing social circumstances of modern Japan as well as the, nicely handled, scenes where you are shown more about the family relationships that exist in the present day.

Nice performances and a nice soothing sound track (with just a little Japanese twist). Maybe the best recommendation that i can give this film is that i nearly broke my ankle playing football before i went to see it and i had to walk back home in the pouring rain...and i did so with a big smile on my face thanks to this film.

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

It's always the quiet ones...

Author: sibisi73 from United Kingdom
27 April 2002

If you like your movies subtle and sweet, then this should be just the ticket. Although the subject matter isn't too out there in the West, it's interesting to see it broached in the Japanese context, where tradition and respect for family are still held in high esteem. The film deals with familial relationships now, and as such presents a refreshing and forward thinking outlook on the nature of the family unit in the 21st century. Hashiguchi lets us watch these intimate relationships as they build up and, in some cases, break down, without feeling intrusive. There are some wonderful scenes of extended dialogue, the sort of meandering conversations that go nowhere, but that are incredibly involving nonetheless. All the performances are spot on, and there's just the right balance between the humour and the heartache. It's a slow, talky film, but still highly rewarding.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A great insight into the Japanese culture...Gay and straight

8/10
Author: enui from United States
17 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I lived in Japan for a number of years and have never seen a film that truly captures gay life in Japan. What is most amazing to Westerners is how similar we are rather than how different. With exception of the language, the movie could easily take place in the U.S. The plot is fairly simple: Two men, one out, one closeted, have a relationship that could possibly be wrecked by a woman who wants to have a child with the closeted man. Their families cause a lot of confusion. Sort of like a relationship in the U.S. The characters are really true to life, and anyone, gay or straight, will instantly recognize the similarities rather than the differences in us all. Well worth you time. A great comedy/drama. Regardless of language. See it....Please

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Liked it a lot

10/10
Author: richsung from Toronto, Canada
27 September 2001

I saw Grains of Sand a number of years ago, so I decided to see this one at the Toronto International Film Fest this year. For me, it was the best movie I saw this year. The characters were great - all of them felt real to me. The humour in this movie is great. Not much more to say except go see it!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Loving Caring Relationships -- even in Japan

Author: Paul Donovan from Vancouver, BC Canada
19 December 2010

I've watched this movie several times but last night I watched it again and I just have to say something about it. This is not your normal gay movie with a lot of gratuitous sex scenes, nor is this a gay movie about AIDS, nor does the plot have anything to do with someone being sick. This is a story about how two fine looking young Japanese men meet up, have a relationship and start a life together. The families of these two men are screwed up, like too many are in life, but these two keep on going. Then just to make it even more interesting, two women come into the middle of these two men's lives. One becomes like a third partner (she wants a baby from them) and the other has a typical young girl infatuation. What really caught my attention was how both these guys do things together at home and outside the home. They care about each other, know each other, and do spontaneous things together. I think we could all learn about relationships from watching these two guys interact together. Love the story.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Nice and warm

10/10
Author: kyyuen
19 May 2002

If a movie reflects good human nature and characteristics, why do we need to refuse it and not accept it even it involves gay relationship.

The director really depicts each character as a real person - you trust their existence.

And you will bring a warm smile when going out of the theater.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Adorable, but also raw at times

9/10
Author: citronellaa from London
7 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've seen this film a few times. THere are some really sweet scenes between the two main characters, and showing how they know each other well. After I saw it the first time I was surprised when I realised how little physical intimacy there was throughout, but there is intimacy in smaller ways - such as sharing the umbrella, the ice cream part, the walking with the bicycle and the rice ball with the background music.

Yes, this is one of the more innocent films by this director, yet still having some horrible/crappy parts, as is his fashion - such as the lady who is stalked, and the guy who leaves at the beginning.

Given the subject matter - homosexual and surrogacy - I also think it was quite cutting edge for it's time, and shows Japan's willingness to embrace social change, whilst still outlining the attitudes of the older generations.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

For Japanese commonplace spectators

9/10
Author: msagawa-1 from Japan
12 August 2007

This is one of my favorite films, even not the best. Each time I see this film, I cannot but wonder why this film, in spite of its central theme, homosexuality, gives me the impression that it's quite an ordinary film, and that homosexuality is just one of everyday matters. In other words, this film is not a special extraordinary work under cover. This is why it is full of humors, which let both straight and gay viewers smile, maybe, in a same way. This film is just the third work of the director, Ryosuke Hashiguchi, who continues to shoot marvelous films, which, certainly, have something to do with homosexuality quite casually, and most importantly, quite naturally. I am looking forward to his next film, whose theme is homosexuality or heterosexuality.

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Nuevo Nuclear Family!

7/10
Author: WILLIAM FLANIGAN from United States
16 October 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Viewed on DVD. Cinematography/lighting = six (6) stars; subtitles/translations = five (5) stars; DVD video format = two (2) stars. Director Ryosuke Hashiguchi's radical upending of the typical Shoahimin Eiga (home drama) movie genre is refreshing and hilarious as his satire (Hashiguchi wrote the scenario) goes after just about all the stale components of standard Shoahimin Eiga (especially those repeatedly exploited by so-called "classical" Japanese movie makers in the past). Hashiguchi's film is also touching as he explores the many road blocks encountered in contemporary society by a lonely gay couple wishing to start a family (child adoption is not an option). Added to the mix is a female protagonist who for medical (related to multiple abortions) and psychological (plain loneliness) reasons is seeking to start a family with a man who "looks like a father." In a chance encounter, she feels that one of the gays has this look! The director is highlighting the partially hidden ongoing cultural clash between heretofore standard family formation, structure, and values (at least as conjured up in movies) and the reality of modern times: one gay's mother is pushing hard for a traditional marriage process and family structure; the other gay's older brother (but not his wife) seems open to new types of family structures (at least on the surface); and then there is the emerging two-dads-one-mom family model depicted in this photo play. Hashiguchi penchant for long, single takes (a good five minutes or so in duration without a cut) channels Hitchcock's usual methodology. But unlike Hitchcock, Hashiguchi's long scenes often end up becoming tedious and ultimately boring. Acting is okay. Subtitles can not be turned off, and tend to be a bit long given their rapid flash rates. Not all dialog is translated. The video formatting used for this DVD seems to be targeting old-style "square" TV screens. It looks pretty bizarre on modern monitors. Rather than expanding the image to full video screen size (at least horizontally), thick black bars surround a miniaturized version of a semi-wide screen. The black borders take up about 50 percent of the video screen's real estate! (Just sit closer!) Concluding scenes seem to be lining things up for a sequel which has yet to emerge. Recommended. WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.

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Comfort film for repeat viewing

10/10
Author: billy_bang from United Kingdom
17 April 2016

This is Hashiguchi's 3rd feature. Gone are the rough edges of his first (SLIGHT FEVER IN 20-YR OLD), gone too the larger ensemble complexities of his second (LIKE GRAINS OF SAND). This, although featuring a slightly awkward introduction of the 3 protagonists at the start, is smoother and more commercial in feel. The sort of thing Hollywood would buy the rights to for a bland adaptation with major 'stars'. Not sure if Hashiguchi felt the need to broaden his appeal this time around. As other reviews have mentioned, it centres on a gay relationship between two men from their first meeting (they casually run into each other outside a gay pub) to starting to live together, when unexpectedly a lonely woman barges in with the startling proposition to one of the men (Katsuhiro) to father a child with her, because she likes him and thought he had a 'father's eyes'. Side strands of each of their familial relationships are woven in. The one involving the closeted gay character Katsushiro's visit to his family home to visit his brother is as masterful as anything by Ozu. There are a couple of melodramatic plots as well (one involving a female co-worker of Katsushiro's who develops a Fatal Attraction like infatuation with him). Katshushiro, played by Seiche Tanabe, is tall, handsome and has an inner quietude, and you can understand why all all these people want to throw themselves at him, including his lover Nagoya (played by Kazua Takahashi). Reiko Karaoke plays Asako the woman who wants a child. Her performance is the most compelling in a way- showing a complex, mixed up confused woman with a good heart behind her gruff exterior. The scenes of the three of them together (especially a montage in the latter half of the film) are marvellous! This film is 2 hours long but is filled with incidents made up of everyday life, it never drags. I have now watched it a couple of times, and can say it is a film I can easily revisit with pleasure!

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