Review of 'Call Me Chihuro'

call_me_chihiro.jpg Chihiro (Kasumi Arimura) is a former sex worker now working in a bento shop in a small village. Chiro is charmingly outspoken and honest but loved by the community as she goes out of her way to be friends with many who have no friends such as a troubled young boy or a homeless man who she takes home to bathe. Despite this we can she is lonely finding fulfilment in bringing joy to others rather than herself.

This is a sad film that takes time to tell Chihiro's story, taking in the people and scenery of the small seaside Japanese village in which it is set. It is often shocking in it's frank way of dealing with issues such as sex and death but innocent and charming at the same time. Kasumi Arimura is not only hauntingly beautiful as Chihiro she portrays a simple sense of kindness but with a touch of sadness just below the surface - Gazing out of her window with a smile on her face you can see there is a sense of loss and longing. It is also a bit of a love letter to the simplicity of life in a small village with it's easy going, generally happy, people and their lives. Beautifully and sensitively filmed this is a slow paced story that asks time of the viewer to take it all in.

Without giving anything away I found the ending quite interesting and unlike most Hollywood films, leaving me a bit sad when the credits started rolling. At the same time the ending is completely true to the story and, thinking on it, perhaps could not have been any other way.

“Call Me Chihuro” doesn't fall into being a travelogue: This is just a simple story set in the world of a woman striving to find her place in it.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-11-19

Directed by: Rikiya Imaizumi

Studio: Asmik Ace Entertainment

Year: 2023

Length: 131 minutes

Genre: Melodrama