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Once again, Koreeda Hirokazu puts the finger on his recurring topic: the insular lifestyle in urban Japan, and how interactions fail to achieve fulfillment.
The premise of a sex doll coming to life may appear a bit irksome, but 'Air Doll' is Koreeda's most introspective film to date because he establishes a solitary principal character observing her surroundings. This allows for a somewhat analytical narrative comment which goes beyond an exclusive focus on Tokyoites. The deductions of the doll Nozomi could be well transmitted to postmodern society as a whole: love excludes ownership, submissiveness culminates in (self)destruction and abandonment, and there is no remedy for a human heart. Some of the lines by which these points are made seem truly unforgettable, such as when the doll's creator mentions that the only distinction between humans and dolls is that we are combustible, while they are non-combustible trash.
As a result, 'Air Doll' is very philosophical and dark, maybe a bit exceedingly so. Yet the film doesn't ignore the humorous implications of an air doll coming to life, which makes for a few breaks in the simple story, as do a number of well-placed side characters. And the slow pace typical for Koreeda's films, plus wonderfully imaginative photography sum up to a thoroughly enjoyable and gratifying movie experience.
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