Friday, January 22, 2010
Four siblings, Kyoko, Shigeru, Yuki, Saki, and the oldest Akira all live quite happily in a small apartment with their mother. The four children all have different fathers, but seem to get along and love each other very much. The landlords only know of Akira. Shigeru, Yuki, and Saki all must stay hidden. Despite their imperfect lifestyle, the family appear to be happy, and their mother also appears to be a loving parent. Even though she does not let them go to school. Then suddenly their mother disappears, only leaving a little money and a quick note which appoints Akira to watch over his three younger siblings. Things go along ok, and after a few months their mother shows up again. But not for long, after a short visit she leaves again. And now begins these poor children’s grim story. The four children, lead courageously by oldest brother Akira, must somehow find a way to survive in their new world of sudden unexplained abandonment.
Review: ‘Nobody Knows’ is one of the most beautiful, and heart breaking film I have ever seen. You immediately begin to adore these four children. Especially oldest brother Akira (Played brilliantly by the young Yuja Yagira). I can’t say enough about the acting from these four kids. The movie just feels so real, like you are watching a documentary.
Nobody Knows is a fairly long film, running just under 2 hours and 20 minutes. So some may find it too long, or a bit slow. I however certainly did not. The story really doesn’t take off until about 45 minutes in when their mother leaves for good. Then begins the children long and horrendous struggle to survive. What is really great about this film is how well you get to know the kids, and also how much they all change by the end of the film. The oldest boy Akira, and his slightly younger sister Kyoko at first are very happy kids, who always have big smiles of their faces. Akira especially who seems to always have a happy smirk. The same can be said about the two youngest kids the hyperactive boy Shigeru, and the adorable Yuki. Both can rarely be seen without a smile. They are simply happy kids. However, once they are abandoned you slowly see they happiness fade, and the grim realization of what they have endured set in. Seeing these happy children turn to grim is heartbreaking. Which brings me back to Akira. The development of his character is outstanding. You really see the despair set in heavily as he tries so hard to keep his family together. You may ask yourself why they do not just call the police, or child services. But he refuses, he does not want himself and his siblings to be split up.
Nobody Knows is a wonderful film, something that I can highly recommend to anyone. Even though it is a very sad story, it does also kinda make you smile. Seeing just how much these kids care for one another, and how hard they work to keep their loves together after being left in abandonment is, simply said, beautiful.
A Film by: Hirokazu Koreeda