I Wish

I Wish

Directed by: Hirokazu Kore-eda
128 minutes

New England Premiere

Japanese with English subtitles

In the latest work by master filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda (STILL WALKING, IFFBoston 2009 Audience Award winner), brothers Koichi and Ryunosuke are separated by the divorce of their parents. Koichi lives with his mother and maternal grandparents in Kagoshima, southern Kyushu, where a volcano regularly deposits ash on their surroundings. His younger sibling Ryunosuke resides many miles north, in Hakata, with their musician father. Though he generally appears sanguine, Koichi inwardly laments the separation of his family and has only one wish: to reunite them.

When the boys learn that the bullet-train line is soon to be extended between their two remote towns, a fanciful plan emerges. They reveal to each other a belief that if they can witness the exact moment and place where the inaugural trains pass each other on this new route, then a miracle will occur, and they will be granted a wish. This childish belief inspires them to travel with a small entourage of friends to a location equidistant from their respective homes on a quest to reunite their fractured family.

Energetic without being hurried, I WISH elegantly evokes the magic, imagination, and hope that abound in children’s perspectives without resorting to cliché. Kore-eda deftly balances humor with emotional resonance, creating a relatable gentleness that taps into the memory of innocent childhood that hides under the veneer of our adult selves.

—Nancy Campbell