Movie Review: Sawako Decides (2010) – Japanese Movie

sawako decides poster

Sawako Decides is as colourful a film as it is bleak. The story is a lighthearted drama with witty humour and satire — and a bit of a romantic subplot. It’s more of a ‘coming to terms’ (with life) story than it is ‘coming of age’ as it’s about personal transformations and decisions. Hikari Mitsushima plays an unlikely and quirky heroine who is enjoyable to watch throughout. Equally enjoyable are the unfolding events on-screen, often slow but substantial,  and her character’s reactions to them. Audiences will laugh at her and cry with her.

“After 5 years in Tokyo, 5 part-time jobs, 5 boyfriends, Sawako’s life is going nowhere. When her father gets seriously ill she [has] to take over his struggling factory. Gradually she becomes the decider of her own life.” (IMDb)

sawako decides 1

The film celebrates mediocracy in complements to a backdrop of a global economic crisis, political class systems, social humiliations, fishery (clam) farming & the environment (ecology), relationship issues and more. Together, the composition of story elements are a huge but subtle weight and it’s interesting to see the heroines’  struggles and triumphs along the way. Similarly, everything is told in clean and soft satirical form — irony is the best medicine after all. And it’s exactly what the heroine, Sawako, needs to take hold of her depleted self-worth and decide her life. Maybe it’s what we all need sometimes.


Directed/ written by: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Hikari Mitsushima // Masashi Endo // Kotaro Shiga // Ryo Iwamatsu  // Kira Aihara

Reviews: Empire // The Film Pilgrim // Global Comment // Twitch Film

aparoo’s words: drama, comedy, dramedy, romance, romcom, life

aparoo says 5/5

Download: Asia Torrents

Stream: Dramacrazy

photo credit:


3 responses to “Movie Review: Sawako Decides (2010) – Japanese Movie

  1. Hey Amarmirch,
    Speaking of which, I’m in Vol. 3 ch. 8 right now, and the translation I’m reading has Sawako saying “like” and “really like” about her friends. And then Ryuu says “normal like” and it’s driving me nuts!
    I’m guessing really like is suki desu? Will someone please tell me what actual japanese words they are using?

  2. Pingback: Villain [Akunin] (J-movie) — 2010 | aparoo says

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