The power of strange friendships are the main focus in this unique Japanese drama directed by Naomi Kawase and starring the amazing Kirin Kiki.
In this movie we have Sentaro, a middle-aged man running a small Dorayaki shop frequented by locals and some school pupils. A Dorayaki is a small pancake with sweet bean paste. After he puts up an advertisement for help he gets the attention of Tokue, a sweet 76-year-old woman who really want to work with him, and there a unique friendship blossoms, After Sentaro tries out her sweet bean paste he realizes it is the best thing he has tasted and business starts blooming, until complications arise.
Kirin Kiki is really brilliant here in the role of Tokue, she is the sweet old kind of innocent grandmother everyone wants, and the chemistry between her and Masatoshi Nagase is nothing short but incredible. Nagase delivers as this middle-aged man who is clearly haunted by his past and who finds hope and compassion in the spirit of this older lady. In the last lead role we have Kyara Uchida, a sweet and talented young girl who plays the pupil Wakana who frequently gets free Dorayakis from Sentaro, and she is actually Kirin Kikis granddaughter, may be another star of Japanese cinema.
The Theme of Sweet Bean is friendship. It is a feel good movie about three different generations and how they all handle their own issues, together. Wakana has her problems which she asks for Sentaros guidance, Sentaro has his past haunting him and Tokue is the sweet adorable grandmother with the heaviest past of them all who you just end up enjoying.
The music is nothing short but perfect to a movie like this. All throughout the film you have this slow almost depressive piano music that really manages to build up the drama
Naomi Kawase as a director is quite the unique woman who we really should discuss. She has made this brilliant and adorable drama film here and the way she challenges social conventions and kind of manages to approach fiction with a documentary gaze. Sweet Bean is a movie that really teaches you alot about Japanese culture and human reactions to different laws they have had up during the years.
And of course it is an astonishingly beautiful movie to look at. Japanese filmmakers really know how to use mise-en-scene for all it is worth, the set and colours are always incredible to look at, and the symbolism of sweet beans and cherrytrees are everywhere.
Sweet Bean is a movie every lover of movies can find some parts to enjoy. It is gorgeously shot and visually pleasing to look at with great cinematography and mise-en-scene, and Kirin Kikis amazing acting really makes this a feel good film that will stick with you for a long time.