Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A Girl Missing Review: A Complicated Story About Cause and Effect

Release date: August 28, 2020
Running time: 111 minutes
Starring: Mariko Tsutsui, Mikako Ichikawa, Sôsuke Ikematsu

A home-care nurse's relationship with the family she has spent years working for is threatened when her nephew is arrested for kidnapping their daughter.  When Ichicko (Tsutsui)'s nephew is arrested for kidnapping the daughter of the family that she is working for, Ichiko does not say anything.  However, this and a number of small incidents work against Ichiko and slowly affect her life.  

A Girl Missing has a slow start up but that is partly because there is a lot happening and the film takes its time to introduce it all.  The movie spends a lot of time establishing the various relationships between the characters and Ichiko's character overall.  The home-care nurse Ichiko (Tsutsui) has many facets and reacts differently to what is going on.  She is a dedicated worker but is also trying to build a better life for herself, which includes doing a good job for the family she works with and maintaining her relationship with her fiance.  She has lots of quirks and strange interests that come out throughout the film, which keeps the audience guessing as to the true motivation for her actions.  And these quirks shine through in various ways, including in dream sequences, in incidents where she tries to get close to certain people, and in somewhat impulsive decisions she makes.  But what is most abundantly clear in this film is that a lot of what derails Ichiko's life seems to stem from normal incidents that, in and of themselves, would not draw any attention.  The acting in A Girl Missing is quite good, with believable performances from all the actors involved.  Even the children tend to be believable, and the film does a good job of growing each character out.  And the shot choice is simply phenomenal, with some impactful and beautiful angles taken.

However, this film is a relatively complicated film, but that is partly the story and partly what is left unsaid.  There are many implications in the film, and many of those are not explored.  It is a weird juxtaposition in this movie, as it seems that the characters say and act more openly than in much Japanese cinema, but still manage to keep a lot under wraps and unsaid.  There are some sequences where it is tough to determine if the sequence is real life or a dream, which contributes to the confusion.  And additionally, although there are a lot of intertwining plot threads in this movie, they also tend to have a strange lack of urgency in the story.  A lot of the threads don't seem to resolve or are left hanging.  And although there is a certain amount of cascading, snowball effects to Ichiko's derailing life, the plot still seems to go in strange directions towards the end of the film.

A Girl Missing is a complicated story about the effects of seemingly minor and random events, with complex characters, stellar camera work, and strong performances.

Rent it.

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following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube. A Girl Missing is playing in virtual cinema.  For showtimes and to see this film, please visit Film Movement.

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