Movie Review: A Whisker Away

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The film is directed by Junichi Satoh and Tomotaka Shibayama, starring Mirai Shida as Miyo and Natsuki Hanae as Hinode. This film basically tells a love story between a teenage couple which might feel a bit naïve and obsessive. But there’s some cute factor this film has for it is bountiful enough to warm the audience’s heart, especially for cat lovers.

Miyo Sasaki is a middle school girl who has a crush on her classmate, Kento Hinode. Each evening after school, Miyo goes home and dons a magical Noh mask which transform her into a cat, Taro. While in human form, Miyo always find a way to interact with Hinode and make romantic advances even with his cold attitude and repeated rejections. Turning herself into Taro is the way how she could spend her time with Hinode, keeping him company while he studies pottery and listening to his problems. She longs to confess that the cat that he loves and the girl he ignored are the same person, but afraid that he will reject her and refuse to visit Taro anymore.

“A Whisker Away” has plenty of lessons coming from every plot that reminds us that being strong and stay positive is important for facing any life-obstacles. Specifically that a human shouldn’t want to trade lives with a cat, even if your crush seems to embrace you more in a cat form. And as it works through Miyo’s immaturity, the progressively clever script looks at Miyo’s actions from the perspectives of others as people realize that her smile and cheerful-persona are its own mask for her pain. But the movie being as blunt with the dialogue as it is repetitively shows us as the audience about how “we can never really know someone’s full emotion,” just in case we miss the way the third act underlines and put it in bold later. There’s also something warmly soft about the movie that imagines a human and a cat truly understand each other in the actual sense of literal comprehension. Available on Netflix since 6/18.

-allen

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