MOVIE REVIEW: Nobody Knows- 2004
Keiko (You, that's the actress' real name) is a young mother with four children, and has a mental capacity that is not much higher than theirs. Each child has a different father and have never been enrolled into school. Keiko rents a tiny apartment in Tokyo along with her 12 year old son Akira (Yuya Yagira). She then smuggles the remaining children into the apartment in a suitcase because the landlord will only rent to a parent with one child. Keiko frequently abandons the children and leaves Akira in charge while she goes away for trysts with men. She then leaves the children for good with about $500 cash. Young Akira steps up to the plate and must use his wits to care for everyone and keep his family secret. Akira fears that if authorities find out about their mother's departure, they will be separated. Akira finds several allies who help him out with food but ultimately, he is solely responsible for the daily care of his smaller siblings. Although Akira has been thrusted into a very adult situation, he longs to be a regular kid. He watches other children play on the sidelines and he wants to make friends, but they don't stay around long because of the appearance of his messy home. At a playground Akira befriends Saki (Hanae Kan), a teen girl who frequently skips school. Saki becomes a friend to the family and sometimes helps Akira obtain money. Saki proves to be very helpful when tragedy strikes that threatens to tear the family apart. No more spoilers from me ya'll.
Oh man is this a sad one! Believe it or not, it's based on a true story. The movie version of this story is not quite as vicious as the real-life events but it stings nonetheless. You are left wondering "How could a mother do this?". What's sad is this type of thing happens all the time and no country is immune from it. The child actors are some of the most beautiful children I've ever seen on film, they were also great little actors. The young man who played Akira did an outstanding job. He displayed warmth and sadness at the same time. Beautifully filmed, the director picked up on every little nuance to drive home the point such as the children's dirty feet and nails. This is another tear-jerker so have your hankies handy. No nudity, no violence, and no foul language here. This is in Japanese with English subtitles.
VERDICT: 4 Soul Claps
Labels: Friday Flashback