Audition (1999) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all.

  • In Tokyo, Shigeharu Aoyama is a widower that grieves the loss of his wife and raises his son Shigehiko Aoyama alone. Seven years later, the teenage Shigehiko asks why his middle-aged father does not remarry and Shigeharu meets his friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa, who is a film producer, and tells his intention. However, Shigeharu has difficulties to approach to available women to date and Yasuhisa decide to organize a sham audition for casting the lead actress for the fake movie. They receive several portfolios of candidates and Shigeharu becomes obsessed by the gorgeous Asami Yamazaki. Despite the advice of the experienced Yasuhisa, Shigeharu calls Asami to date and he falls for her. But who is the mysterious Asami?

  • A lonely Japanese widower whose son is planning to move out of the house soon expresses his sadness to a friend and fellow film producer, who becomes inspired to hold an audition for a non-existent film so that the widower can select a new potential bride from the resulting audition pool. The widower ultimately becomes enamored with and fascinated by one particular young woman...but first impressions can often be horribly wrong....


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a middle-aged widower who lost his wife to an illness seven years prior, is urged by his 17-year-old son, Shigehiko (Tetsu Sawaki), to begin dating women again. Shigehiko is somewhat doubtful of his father's love life, but plans to move out when he finishes school and does not want his father to be alone. Aoyama's friend and colleague, Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura), a film producer, devises a plan to hold a mock-audition, in which young, beautiful women would audition for the "part" of Aoyama's new wife, under the impression that they are auditioning for a new film, but actually so Aoyama can marry one of the finalist contestants.

    Aoyama is immediately enchanted by Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina), a 24-year-old woman with a soft voice and reserved, yet confident, mannerisms. In her audition, Asami says that she was once a ballerina headed for greatness, but had to give up dancing after an injury. Aoyama, still reeling from the death of his wife, is attracted to her apparent emotional depth.

    Yoshikawa warns him about Asami, saying that he has a bad feeling about her. None of the references on her résumé were able to be reached and her job history is shaky. The music producer she claimed to work for had gone missing. Unfortunately, Aoyama is so enthralled by her inner and outer beauty that he is blinded by his feelings for her.

    She lives in an empty apartment, furnished only with a sack and a telephone. Four days following the audition, she sits perfectly still in the middle of the floor next to the telephone, waiting for it to ring. When it finally does, the sack lurches across the room and makes gurgling sounds. She ignores it as she waits a few rings before answering.

    When Asami answers the phone, she confesses to Aoyama that she never expected him to call. After several dates, she agrees to accompany him to a seaside hotel. Once at the hotel, Asami tells Aoyama about the abuse she suffered as a child and shows him the burn scars on her body. Asami asks Aoyama to love only her. Aoyama promises to do so and they make love.

    The next morning, Aoyama is awakened by a telephone call; it is the front desk wondering if, since his companion left, he too would be checking out. He realizes Asami is nowhere to be found. Using her résumé, Aoyama searches in vain for her.

    Aoyama visits the old ballet studio where Asami claimed to have trained for 12 years. He finds that the studio is now inhabited only by a disabled old man in a wheelchair with artificial feet. It is revealed that the man caused the burn scars on Asami's legs.

    Then he goes to the bar where Asami used to work and someone tells him that it has been closed for a year because the woman who was in charge, the wife of a record producer, was found dismembered. When the police put her body back together, they found 3 extra fingers, an extra ear, and an extra tongue.

    Asami goes to Aoyama's house during his search. Once there, she finds a photo of his dead wife. Enraged, she slips a sedative in his drink and hides. Aoyama comes home, has a drink and faints. The movie cuts to a sequence about Asami's past and present. In one scene, The contents of the sack are revealed to be a man missing both feet, his tongue, one ear and three fingers on one hand. He crawls out of the sack and begs for food. Asami vomits into a dog dish and places it on the floor for the man. The man sticks his face in the bowl of vomit, and hungrily consumes it.

    A while later, Asami returns to the drugged and paralyzed Aoyama. As she walks into the room, the audience sees the twisted body of Aoyama's pet dog. She proceeds to inject Aoyama with an agent that paralyzes his body, but keeps his nerves alert. She then tortures him with needles in his abdomen and under his eyes. As she is torturing him, she tells him he is just like everyone else in not being able to love only her. She talks about how he has many whom he loves in his life, mainly his son. She says that she has only him and that this is not acceptable, because then he will never be completely hers. Her torture of him, she explains, is to teach him the meaning of needing someone. She tells him that, "words cause lies, pain can be trusted." She then cuts off his left foot with a wire saw.

    While Asami begins to cut off his other foot, she is surprised by Aoyama's son returning home. She hides and prepares to attack him. He discovers his father on the floor, turns, and is surprised by Asami. Suddenly Aoyama has a dream that he is waking up and that the past events have been a dream, to just after he and Asami had made love for the first time. She says that she accepts his marriage proposal, despite him never actually proposing, and says that she is the heroine of his life. He awakes from this dream to see his son swing around and Asami fail to disable him. Shigehiko runs up a flight of stairs to escape her and she follows him, he kicks her down the stairs, breaking her neck. Aoyama tells his son to call the police. As Aoyama lies in agony on the floor, he continues to stare at the dying figure of Asami on the floor, her neck is broken in a way that she is facing him. She mutters things that she had told him earlier about waiting for his call, and being excited to see him again. He is overcome with sadness as he remembers his answer to her in his dream sequence about her abuse, that "It's hard to forget about...but someday you'll feel...that life is wonderful."

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