Japanese Story

This is a strange and quiet little film, and I can’t really say what it’s about without spoiling it. Toni Collette plays a geologist assigned to shepherd a Japanese businessman around the Australian outback. At first, they hate each other, then they fall in love, in keeping with the centuries-old tradition of contrived cinema matings. However, in spite of how obvious this first part is, everything changes midway through the film, and it becomes a tremendously sad and affecting story. Plus, the gorgeous Australian landscape is beautifully captured by cinematographer Ian Baker. Toni Collette’s acting is spot-on, as always, and the script is reserved and natural. This would have been a stronger film if the initial romance had made more sense, or had at least avoided the standard "I hate him/I love him" formula, but it still works reasonably well, and shows what can be done with a limited cast and a focus on human interaction.

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