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Eriq La Salle,
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Abby, four years out of college, an aimless child of privilege, comes to Tokyo to be with her boyfriend, who promptly leaves for Osaka. She wants to stay in Tokyo in hopes he'll come back to her, but she's miserable: she speaks little Japanese and has a dull job as a law-firm gopher. She stumbles into the neighborhood ramen shop operated by the aging master chef Maezumi and his wife Reiko. His soup cheers Abby, so she decides to apprentice herself to him. He's uninterested, she's insistent, so he shouts at her and gives her all the cleaning to do. Weeks go by; she's persistent. Will he ever actually teach her to cook? And if he does, will she bring the requisite spirit to the job? Written by
The Grand Master in this film is played by Tsutomu Yamasaki, the same actor who starred as Goro in Tampopo, the 1985 film which was also about a noodle shop in Japan. See more »
Abby tells Maezumi that she's never finished anything important in her life, including college. However, she is shown working for a Japanese company in the first part of the film, which would not be possible since Japan does not issue work permits to foreigners who have only a high school diploma. See more »
A bowl of ramen is a self-contained universe with life from the sea, the mountains, and the earth. All existing in perfect harmony. Harmony is essential. What holds it all together is the broth. The broth gives life to the ramen.
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This was my first view of Britany Murphy in a movie, "The Ramen Girl". I was impressed with her acting and presence on screen. With all the new Hollywood stars coming out of the woodwork these days, you begin to lose track about who's good and who's not so good. This movie has definitely etched a niche for her as a capable actor and hope she manages her career accordingly with her remarkable talent.
The movie in many ways is a throw-back to a silent movie where dialog is not really the centerpiece to the story. The subtitles though helpful were not needed as the audience would have gotten the gist just by viewing the actors' facial expressions intertwined with their body language.
This movie must have been successful in Japan and Asia as it importantly catered to the emotional side of things and the nuances associated with human relationships in order to successfully carry the story rather the plot itself. We are usually accustomed to movies with a continuity heading toward a final conclusion that makes sense to all of us. The viewers, who feel this way about a movie, will be disappointed because "The Ramen Girl" falls short of this requirement. I liked the movie because it successfully joined two cultures in an attempt to show that the traumas and jubilations arising out of love, pride, loneliness, self-worth, honor and feelings we share and experience with people are commonly the same universal denominators we all share in culturally different ways in Tokyo or NYC or the world for that matter. The writer was right on the mark on this one. The movie does have its funny moments to keep it interesting. All around, I give it an 8.
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