LIFF25: Mitsuko Delivers - Cinema Review

'by the time Mitsuko has told you that she wants to do something because it's 'cool' for the eighth or ninth time you might be ready to throw a 'cool' breeze block at her'

In Mitsuko Delivers, a pregnant young women - driven by the over-riding desire to live a 'cool' life, prone to taking impromptu story-stopping naps - follows a cloud down an anonymous alleyway to a former home where she attempts to help out her struggling ex-neighbours. A Ken Loach-esque slice of social realism this ain't.

If the above sounds a tad annoying then that's because it is. By the time Mitsuko (Riisa Naka, impressive) has told you that she wants to do something because it's 'cool' (which actually means 'right despite the consequences' in the context of most of her actions) for the eighth or ninth time you might be ready to throw a 'cool' breeze block at her. By the fifteenth time you'll probably have started to ignore it completely.

Ignoring it allows you to rather grow to like Mitsuko. Like a plethora of 'kooky' heroins before her, it's impossible not to partially fall in love with her boundless enthusiasm and ill-thought-out schemes. 'You've increased our customer base', Yoichi (Aoi Nakamura) tells her at one point, 'but our profits are still awful', this due to the fact that Mitsuko considers it 'cool' (right) to give away food to the needy and depressed. This middle section, where Mitsuko spends time 'fixing' everything she comes in to contact with, is the film's best and has the strongest laughs from writer/director Yƻya Ishii's script.

The sections either side of this are noticeably flawed. The opening is too long and largely laughless whilst the finale goes for much broader comedy, taking the film into the sub-genres of Madcap and Slapstick, where it didn't need to tread. Both though, plus the middle, feature strong characterisation and enough chuckles to pull you through, and it's nice to see independent foreign comedy getting a respectful festival airing amongst the more supposedly 'worthy' offerings.




Mitsuko Delivers plays again at LIFF25 on Thursday 10th November at 18.15.

Look further...

'Riisa Naka’s sheer force of personality helps things along, though at times it feels a little undecided if it is relying on satire or surreal humour' - Screen Daily

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