Famed writer Banana Yoshimoto's original novel 'Goodbye Tsugumi' is a light, fun read. However, in terms of depth and character development, compared to her other, more acclaimed works like 'Kitchen' or 'Asleep', it falls short. Jun Ichikawa's screenplay, though starting off as a line-by-line adaptation, eventually takes some liberties. Some smaller story arcs are dropped and a major character is altered from a schoolboy to a grown man, resulting in subsequent alterations in the storyline. In my opinion, these changes elevated the story, got rid of its excesses and made the titular character more enigmatic but strangely palpable. Riho Makise's portrayal of this complex character is nothing short of amazing. She brilliantly pulls off the polar opposite traits of the character - vulnerable but headstrong, mischievous yet empathic, spoilt yet stoic. Tomoko Nakajima has also delivered a measured, capable performance as the narrator character. The pacing of the film is somewhat uneven. It spends too little time on building the premise and catching up with the present, resulting in some early confusion. Similarly, the final 20 minutes drawing to the conclusion is inexplicably rushed, completely ruining the slow, charming middle bulk of the film. I suspect this is because of some studio decision to wrap the story under 2 hours. The rest of the film - the beautiful locations, the cinematography, the costumes, the art direction are all superb, as one expects nothing less anyway.
Tugumi, who lives in a small seaside town, has been in delicate health from birth. Her parents spoiled her and she is rough and selfish. However, a few people are attracted by her beauty ...
December 12, 2020