Tour-de-force by Mortimer bolstered by excellent storytelling
I found the entire 102-minute running length of this movie to be extraordinary. Narrated by Emily Mortimer as Leonie Gilmour, this is a movie that lives up to the title character's signature quote to her life-long friend at turn-of-the-20th-century Bryn Mawr, "Don't bore me by being ordinary!" She winds up following her own advice at the crossroads of her life and then passing it onto her son when he needs to choose between a conventional life in medical school or pursuing his visions as an artist. After left in New York with child by the talented Japanese poet whose works she edited and promoted with success, she heads west to California to live with her mother - wonderfully essayed by Mark Kay Place. Despite her mother's warnings, she takes her son with her to Japan where once again, faux husband Nore wants to take care of her but does not accord her the respect she demands. The rest of the film is her journey to have her children educated and to grow while moving as nomads teaching and learning what they can. It is mesmerizing and beautifully photographed. Then the focus starts to shift away from Leonie's tale to the independent growth of son Isamu.
The shift slow the momentum just a bit toward its rather benign conclusion until we get one final revelation as to how her daughter was born. Overall, this is a fantastic journey and a most entertaining, gratifying and well-acted tale.
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