MPAA (PG) Roger Ebert (3 1/2 Stars) Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)
IMDb listing -
Roger Ebet's review -
I Wish (orig. Kiseki) written and directed by Hirokazu Koreeda is a lovely, gentle Japanese film (subtitled into English) about two young brothers, separated, each living with one parent, as their parents divorce. Twelve year-old Koichi (played by Koki Maeda) now lives with their mother Nozomi (played by Nene Ohtsuka) who returned to her parents (played by Isao Hashizume and Kirin Kiki respectively) to the smaller, more provincial town that she was from, while the younger brother Ryonosuke (played by Ohshirô Maeda) stayed with their father Kenji (played by Jô Odagiri) in a bigger city.
Both boys have adjusting to do, but the older brother (perhaps because he had to move, perhaps because he was simply older and knew better what was going on) has had a harder time of it. The two talk occasionally by phone as they do with their parents.
The two boys finally decide to meet at a uniquely modern "auspicious time:" A new bullet train line was going to be inaugurated that was going reach for the first time the provincial town that Koichi and their mother had returned to and this was a real big deal for that town. (Presumably the larger city where Ryuonosuke was living in with their father was already connected to the web of Japan's bullet-train lines). The two brothers decide to meet somewhere along the line between their two towns to watch the bullet trains pass by. Between them and their friends they came up with a story that if they spotted two of these bullet trains pass by each other, they would approach each other with such speed that ... anything could happen and therefore any wish that they could wish for ... would come true.
The rest of the movie becomes planning with each others' friends how they would meet to watch those bullet trains go by. To an American like me, it seems fascinating that Japan would appear so safe that the parents of a dozen or so 10-12 year olds would allow them to travel by themselves to a midpoint between these two towns and even spend the night there (okay at one of the 10-12 year old's grandparents -- but at least one group of those kids wouldn't have even known the grandparents) to watch these two bullet trains pass-by. But, well, that appears to be Japan...
When they do see the two trains pass-by, the kids do wish for all kinds of things that one could imagine a 10-12 year old to wish for. Koichi publicly wishes that a nearby just volcano would blow-up and force him and his mother to move back to the larger city where his father and younger brother live. Privately he'd settle for his parents to getting back together. Well do they? What do you think? How would you end a movie like this? How do you think writer/director Hirokazu Koreeda does? Guess ;-)