My Grandpa (2003) – Japanese Movie – Review

watashi no grandpa

My Grandpa aka “Watashi no Grandpa” is a climactic story and heartwarming portrayal of an ex-con. Tamako awaits the arrival of her grandpa, Kenzo, whom was imprisoned just after her birth 13 years ago. She’s a victim of bullying and he’s an infamous Yakuza killer. The movie is about their new relationship and how they come to truly understand each other — as respect and love grow.  Its a human-drama about life and death and the things in between. Directed by Yoichi Higashi.

Based on an award-winning novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, “Watashi no Grandpa” is Sugawara‘s first semiaction role in 12 years, since his turn as a boxing coach in Junji Sakamoto’s “Ote (Checkmate).” Now pushing 70, he can still subdue the bad guys, without looking as though he’ll need a respirator the moment the camera is turned off. He also plays well opposite newcomer Ishida as Tamako. Where some actors might turn on the smarmy, avuncular charm, Sugawara remains, well, Sugawara — the ideal, cool granddad.

(The Japan Times Online) — click for full article and review [spoiler]

I definitely agree with the above article and how it describes Sugawara as being just right for the grandpa role. He is known for his raw but honest acting and holds up to his name in this movie. The portrayal of a kind-hearted yet firm man take the story to the next level and in addition to a great script and thoughtful cinematography make the movie a hook, line and sinker. FYI the plot does thicken with the Yakuza angle.

Another Sugawara article — The Japan Times Online
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aparoo says 5/5 for the coolest grandpa in the world

This movie, and the grandpa character specifically, reminded me greatly of my late-grandmother. No, she was not a Yakuza killing ex-con but she did stand for many of the same principles (of Kenzo) and taught me them both directly and indirectly during our time together.

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