SWEET BEAN

PrintE-mail Written by Samantha Ward

Sweet Bean masterfully evokes emotions through three different generations that evolves around the delicious japanese delicacy, dorayaki, a sweet pancake treat. Director, Naomi Kawase, tugs at the heart strings whilst serving up a plate full of pancake porn, thus creating something sweet that will sit heavy in your heart.

Starring Masatoshi Nagese as Sentaro, a lonely manager of a small dorayaki shop with little custom. The most customers Sentaro sees are the kids after school who make fun of his dorayaki for being mediocre. One of the kids, Wakana (Kyara Uchida), is interested in the job vacancy for the shop despite the little custom it gets. Wakana has competition however, Tokue (Kirin Kiki), a senior citizen who seems very interested in making the red bean paste for Sentaro's pancakes. Sentaro is reluctant to hire Tokue due to her age and crippled hands, but Tokue's determination perseveres and when Sentaro tastes her recipe he can't say no. There is something genuine about all these characters as they all share something that darkens them yet they come together to make something beautiful.

Making the sweet bean paste, known as an, is a very lengthy process and just to emphasize this Kawase makes this scene over drawn and mostly shoots with long takes and little cutting, like a bad cooking show. It's a beautiful scene however and can be much appreciated if you enjoy watching the process of making something. The dynamics between Sentaro and Tokue is enough to entertain you, they both carry an air of mystique and warmth. It is also very satisfying to see the outcome of all this hard work and see the small dorayaki shop thrive for the first time in this film.

Of course this idyllic situation does not last very long when Tokue's secret is revealed. It's a tear jerker to be sure and it drastically changes the tone of the film. It becomes a tormenting reflection on each of the character's past and present. Kawase may have prolonged this a little too much and though the film is wonderfully shot with beautiful settings, there isn't quite enough plot to stimulate the viewer. The actor's ability to draw us in by conveying strong and real emotions in the most subtle way is what really carry's the film. We want to know where these characters are going to end up and Kawase manages to convey this with a wonderful air of grace in the final scene.

With food and emotions going hand in hand, Sweet Bean is definitely up there in the good foodie movies. It's delicate like most of Kawase's films though it is also straight forward and more accessible than her previous, if a little long drawn with the mixture of art-house and story. If you can't be warmed by Tokue's passion for making Doriyaki you'll at least be craving them.

SWEET BEAN / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: NAOMI KAWASE / STARRING: KIRIN KIKI, MASATOSHI NAGESE, KYARA UCHIDA / BASED ON THE NOVEL BY DURIAN SUKEGAWA / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
 


Suggested Articles:
Caradog W. James’ new feature Don’t Knock Twice is an interesting film, but not necessarily for
First broadcast in 1973 as an episode for the long running, German detective series, Tatort (which s
Based on Adelaida García Morales’ short story El sur, this 1983 film version was voted one of the
We’ve always been sceptical of health farms and diet pills, and this obscure little gem from Down
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

DON'T KNOCK TWICE 20 January 2017

DEAD PIGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET 15 January 2017

EL SUR 15 January 2017

BODY MELT (1993) 12 January 2017

VALLEY OF THE SASQUATCH 12 January 2017

FIRST MEN IN THE MOON 10 January 2017

SAUSAGE PARTY 09 January 2017

HEAD OF THE FAMILY 09 January 2017

CREEPY 09 January 2017

THE GLASS SHIELD (1994) 09 January 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
 
 
 
 
...
 
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144