Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood

(Noruwei no mori)
(2010)

Nominated for the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, 1960s-set Japanese romance based on the Haruki Murakami novel.... More

"In the late 60s (most strongly evoked by the sharp fashion sense of the leads) Tokyo universities are rife with political unrest, but Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) is consumed by inner turmoil. He is falling in love with the fragile, painfully inhibited Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi) and becoming increasingly fixated on her devotion to honouring a dead boy they both loved. The morbid power of their bond is tested by his much worldlier roommate Nagasawa and the mocking flirtation of the uninhibited Midori, who clearly fancies him but won’t play second fiddle to a ghost." (Source: NZ International Film Festival 2011)Hide

Flicks Review

Anh Hung Tran’s (award-winning director of The Scent of Green Papaya) adaptation of Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood isn’t a literal translation but the main subtext of the story remains complete. Love, suicide, loneliness and loyalty are all investigated in a lengthy Japanese version of a Greek Tragedy.... More

Through the course of two hours we patiently glide across the subtleties of a young man coming of age in the discourse between Japan’s ancient history and its newest generation; sex, fidelity and politics course through the countries veins while those afflicted try not to get sick from all their new freedoms. A vast world opens up slowly, just as a book does when turning its pages. Scenes graze past each other with styling faithful to the colour and feel of the tumultuous 1960s in a newly modern Japan. The soundscape is part nature, part city chaos, part American hippy movement songs like Can’s She Brings The Rain and, of course, The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood.

I read somewhere that if you hadn’t read the book you wouldn’t understand the movie, with which I disagree; the beautiful Japanese pathos of this cinematic flight is rewarding. Both soft and startling, it casts a fascinating contrast between the Western experience of the same epoch.Hide


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The Press Reviews

75% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • It’s an unhurried and precise film, but approach it on these terms and you’ll find a sensitive, profoundly perceptive and life-affirming study of what it means to develop a bond with someone else. Full Review

  • Norwegian Wood suffers from familiar adaptation problems -- truncated supporting roles, excessive voiceover -- Tran makes a strong, committed effort to turn prose into poetry, and to render the characters' emotional states, especially grief, as honestly as possible. Full Review

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