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The Ramen Girl (2008)

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An American woman is stranded in Tokyo after breaking up with her boyfriend. Searching for direction in life, she trains to be a râmen chef under a tyrannical Japanese master.

Writer:

Becca Topol (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brittany Murphy ... Abby
Toshiyuki Nishida Toshiyuki Nishida ... Maezumi
Soji Arai ... Toshi Iwamoto (as Sohee Park)
Kimiko Yo ... Reiko
Daniel Evans ... Charlie
Renji Ishibashi Renji Ishibashi ... Udagawa
Gabriel Mann ... Ethan
Tammy Blanchard ... Gretchan
Daigo Tanji Daigo Tanji ... Taxi Driver
Thane Camus Thane Camus ... Wilson
Hako Ueno Hako Ueno ... Hanako
Masayuki Maekawa Masayuki Maekawa ... Vendor
Yûya Ogawa Yûya Ogawa ... College Student (as Yuya Ogawa)
Tomoyuki Kuramoto Tomoyuki Kuramoto ... College Student
Yuta Yuta ... Young Man at the Shrine
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

chef | master | japanese | stranded | ramen | See All (27) »

Taglines:

In food as in life, sometimes the missing ingredient is love. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

USA | Japan

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

23 October 2008 (Russia) See more »

Also Known As:

Könnyes leves See more »

Filming Locations:

Jacksonville, Florida, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (European Film Market)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The shooting for the film was particularly difficult for Brittany Murphy, as she at times arrived hours late to set and expressed constant anxiety about her appearance and reputation. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Gretchen: Hey Japan! I was fired tonight! On Christmas Eve!... Heartless japanese! Cold blooded Japan!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: Japan: Hokkaido (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Oreno Uta
Written by Ryôtarô Sugi
Performed by Ryôtarô Sugi
Courtesy of Teichiku Entertainment, Inc.
Courtesy of Globule Music Publishers, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pleasant comedy about girl finding her spirit...
18 May 2009 | by lhhung_himselfSee all my reviews

I think a large part of the negative reaction comes from expectations about what the film is or should be.

First of all, this is not a remake of Tampopo, nor is it about food. It actually borrows more from "Like Water for Chocolate" than Tampopo, but the food subplot is an afterthought and a bit of a distraction.

It isn't really a rom-com though there is a romantic interest in there. Nor is it really a East meets West type of thing either though that certainly is an element.

It is a story about a young girl, who like many young people have wandered aimlessly expecting that life will just happen for them. The Japanese expectation that a big company will take care of them for life is not that much different from the American expectations. Our ramen girl discovers that such a lack of passion and spirit, even when the ingredients are there and all the right steps are followed will lead to a bland soup. A simple metaphor but done fairly well.

Brittany Murphy is surprisingly good as the ramen girl and her interactions with the gruff ramen-nazi (wonderfully played by Toshiyuki Nishida) are hilarious. The development of the relationship between the two of them was very well done.

I quite enjoyed this film and recommend it as a light pleasant diversion that brings a smile to your face - like a good bowl of ramen should...


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