Tsuneo is a university student working part-time in a mah-jong parlour. Lately the customers have been talking about an old lady who pushes a baby carriage through the streets. They say she... See full summary »
Tsuneo is a university student working part-time in a mah-jong parlour. Lately the customers have been talking about an old lady who pushes a baby carriage through the streets. They say she is carrying something for a crime syndicate, and they wonder what it is she has in the carriage. Money? Drugs? One day, the owner of the mah-jong parlour sends Tsuneo out to walk his dog. A baby carriage comes rolling down a hill and crashes into a guard rail. The old lady asks him to look into the carriage, where he finds a young woman clutching a knife. This is how Tsuneo first meets the girl who calls herself Josée. Written by
This is a small masterpiece, one of the best films released in 2004. On the cover, it's an unlikely romance between an easy-going college boy and a captivating girl who is disabled from the waist down, but it doesn't even begin to show how wonderfully astute this film is in dealing with still-youthful emotions of its characters. 'Joze' captures what it's like to be young and in love perfectly, but it's never self-conscious or brash about it; it also deals with the question of disability in a quiet, subtle way, never patronizing it or pandering to its sentimental possibilities. Satoshi Tsumabuki of 'Waterboys' fame plays nicely against type as the well-meaning but shallow Tsuneo, while Chizuru Ikewaki is truly beguiling as the titular heroine. 'Joze' is a romance whose refreshing honesty and quiet courage is so rare these days that it may well go down as one of a kind. It's also one of the very few films to achieve a level of true emotional resonance, with an ending that is both low-key and utterly devastating at the same time. It is a moment that stays in your mind long after you've left the cinema, growing more and more tender as you dwell on it.
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