Annabel is a terminally ill cancer patient and is quietly awaiting her death spending her time studying nature. Enoch is struggling to recover from the death of his parents and spends his time attending funerals with his only friend - a ghost named Hiroshi who was a WWII Japanese kamikaze pilot. Just as Annabel's sister is trying to cope with Annabel's impending death, Annabel and Enoch fall in love. They both finally have a reason to live, but is it too late to have a life together? Written by
Director Gus Van Sant is renowned for films that explore the lives of lost or outcast characters, and reveal their strength and beauty. And his latest film Restless is no exception.
The film tells the story of two free-spirited teenagers - Annabel (Mia Wasikowska) and Enoch (Henry Hopper). Annabel is suffering a terminal illness, whilst Enoch splits his time between attending stranger's funerals and talking to the ghost of a kamikaze pilot named Hiroshi (Ryo Kase). As they fall for each other, it becomes clear that they are exactly what each other needs, and their lives revolve around making the most of each moment together.
Based on this summary you could be excused for thinking that Restless might be too melancholy. But I think it is more a celebration of life. Don't get me wrong, the film certainly does tug at the heart-strings, but there is an appreciation and acceptance of the fleeting nature of life that overwhelms the sadness.
Van Sant has created a beautiful film with vivid images and masterful direction. It's also quite quirky due to its interesting characters, script and film score. The performances are very good (especially from Wasikowska) which I think add to the strong emotions elicited in the audience. Annabel's zest for life is especially inspirational.
In this sense Restless is so much more than a love story. It certainly makes you appreciate life and loved ones, and this is what I really liked about the film.
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