Noriko's Dinner Table

Club Suicide is one of my favorite movies, so when I heard there was a sequel/prequel, I knew I had to see it!

Without trying to compare it too much to it's predecessor, I should first point out that it's not really necessary to see the first movie in order to understand this one. The major event that serves as the catalyst the first time around, is still present in this one...

First off, the story may seem pretty straight-forward on the surface, but it quickly becomes apparent that there's a lot more going on underneath. It's not just a story about a country girl who yearns for change, and longs to move to Tokyo--it's about family, isolation, lack of communication, and the growing generation gap between the Japanese youth and the adults.

In fact, there's actually a lot more going on than just that... but those were the first things that came to mind. So please, if you do watch this, be aware that this is the type of movie that requires a little bit of thought and effort. Of course, that's one of the reasons I've become such a fan of these films in the first place. ^_^

The directing, as always, is superb. The way he sets up these shots are brilliant, and part of the reason I'm always drawn to his movies. I'm definitely going to hunt down some more films he's written or directed in the near future. And of course, the casting was top-notch. Everyone fit into their roles wonderfully, and I was never once pulled out of the movie, or distracted by over-acting.

The movie's strongest point for me though, will always be its story. I love something that looks straightforward on the surface, but is actually a lot deeper than originally supposed. It's impossible to walk away from this movie without questioning most of what you've watched. Don't expect a film that hands the audience everything they need to know in order to understand what's going on... it's up to the individual and what they choose to take away from it. For me, the ending did not disappoint.

My only real criticism is that the story dragged a lot in the middle... but still, I couldn't help but feel that everything that happens, happens for a reason, and that every one of those scenes was necessary for the story.

I can't, however, say I liked it as much as Suicide Club: I think I prefer it when the range is broader, and not focused so entirely on one family in particular.

Here is my own personal take on the ending, in case anyone is curious/confused. Please keep in mind though that this is pure conjecture on my part... which means, most of it is probably wrong, lol. But hey, guessing is half the fun!
SPOILERS

The way I see it, the end was Noriko finally "connecting with herself"; moving on from all the roles she's constantly been playing. When she says goodbye to her adolescence, it's not like she's saying "Look! I've grown up, I'm an adult now." In essence, she's saying goodbye to all the loose terminology that goes along WITH it--knowing that it no longer holds any REAL meaning. Once you're connected, you find yourself, you become your own person--transcendence. Finding happiness by looking within; not depending on others for that happiness.

From what I understand, Ueno54/Kumiko has alreadyreached this point. She 'connected with herself' long ago, and is simply trying to help others reach that same point. Her smile at the end, I believe, is because she realizes that both Tetsuzo and Noriko have finally reached that point: Tetsuzo has put aside his selfishness, and has finally become a true father. Even though it took two years of searching, he finally got his new beginning. When he wakes up, I truly believe he'll be able to smile and accept Yuka's decision to leave--perhaps even understand it, which he was never able to do before.Noriko... I believe Kumiko already realized how close she was. Once she saw her honestly expressing herself to her father (something she could never do back in their hometown) she knew that she would be alright, and not get caught up in the old role she used to play. In essence, she watched her "student" graduate. Yuka, however, still has yet to make that connection. I think the fact that she leaves is because she understands she still has some searching to do. She realizes her happiness is too tightly ingrained in her family and her past--she is looking for happiness through them--when she should be looking for it within herself. In short: she has finally put Yuka to rest, and is ready to be reborn.

END OF SPOILERS

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this movie and wasn't disappointed at all. For anyone who is looking for a movie to watch that makes you think, then Noriko's Dinner Table definitely won't disappoint!

My Rating:

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