Film Review: Norwegian Wood (2010)

| 1 August , 2011 | Reply

Norwegian Wood (2010)
Directed by:
Anh Hung Tran
Starring: Ken\’ichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi
Sassi’s Star Rating: 4/5

When literary historians look back on our generation, the name Haruki Murakami will be high on the list of writers that defined it. His novels are known for their brilliant character development and emotive storytelling—he is simply a profound observer of humankind, capturing it poetically as it has existed for the past 50 years. Now, for the first time, one of his novels has been adapted to the silver screen, and fans of his work will eagerly, but cautiously, approach to see whether the imaginings of a director can capture on film what has been evoked so deftly on the page.

Set in Japan in the 1960s, and named after the song by the Beatles, Norwegian Wood tells the story of 18-year-old Toru Watanabe, the best friend he lost too early, and the lover he gained too late.  It is a film that explores those often confusing first years out of high school, when the heady offerings of sex, music and alcohol both cloud and distort.

The film examines love and loss, beautifully capturing the struggle to make sense of the world through juvenile eyes, and the many relationships that you gain and lose along the way. Each of the characters is familiar: the colleague lothario, the hard-to-get girl, and the mysterious lover from the past—yet they are presented in a fresh and insightful manner that makes them fresh and intriguing once more.

Norwegian Wood is an entrancing film. While it is impossible to do Murakami\’s work justice, this is a wonderful attempt to bring his characters to a wider audience. Much like the song, the film is an honest and nostalgic retelling of the magic and mystery of those early years of sexual and romantic discovery. And it\’s done very well.

Norwegian Wood premiered in Australia as part of the Sydney Film Festival.

Keeva

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