Air Doll (Kūki ningyō) (2009)
Average Rating: 5/10
Reviews Counted: 21
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 12
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 1,274
A special kind of toy is suddenly introduced to the real world around her in this artful fantasy from Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda. Hideo (Itsuji Itao) is a middle-aged man who doesn't have many friends, but he wards off loneliness with his companion Nozomi (Bae Du-na), who joins him for dinner each evening and in bed afterwards. But Nozomi is actually an inflatable love doll that can't speak or move on her own -- or she can't until one morning when she discovers she's developed the
Sep 26, 2009 Wide
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The film's poignant depiction of human loneliness is undercut by saccharine notes and a drifting tone.
A charming, richly textured fable that touches on fundamental questions of existence.
The movie is a fable etched in comedy, sadness, and mild existential philosophy. Yes, the object of Kore-eda's fairy tale is a life-size sex toy, but it's the size and emotional shading of the toy's new life that interests him.
The urban fairytale about an inflatable sex doll come to life gradually unfurls as an achingly beautiful meditation on loneliness and longing in the city.
Recut to a trim 90 minutes, this fragile yarn would work perfectly and have a chance of an afterlife as a specialty item. In its present form, pic may not get much farther than the fest netherworld.
Hirokazu's meandering, diffuse storytelling leaves the film feeling even longer than its near two hour running time, and it becomes difficult not to hope for the appearance of sharp objects just to introduce an element of suspense.
Air Doll wears that compassion on its sleeve a little too earnestly and humorlessly. Even an airhead could see that.
Here's where I'm contractually obligated to refer to her performance as 'brave,' as that's trusty film-critic shorthand for 'naked a lot.'
What's most interesting about the story is not its apparent oddness, but the fact it maintains a sense of fairy tale magic even while it's set in a cold and seemingly hollow world.
Air Doll goes on far too long and plays with so many different themes that it seems more like a doodle than a film.
Kind of like what Wim Wenders did in Wings of Desire, but here it's all hot air.
A sex-toy Pinocchio? Offenbach's Olympia as an inflatable courtesan? If only.
The writer-director's interest in desire and longing is habitually channeled through quirky-quick brushstrokes that reduce the already borderline-pretentious proceedings into full-blown treacle.
Although most of the movie is fantastical and wonderfully perceptive, it's nevertheless deflating to see Nozomi become a latex version of Eleanor Rigby.
Frustratingly shallow, refusing to be about anything in particular. No, that's a lie: it's about a great many things, and it is horribly superficial about every one of them.
Plays like a middling installment of some softballed international portmanteau like Paris, je t'aime, but maddeningly inflated to at least ten times the recommended scale.
This follow-up, despite having been in the works for years, feels a tad rushed.
Although the bill may be too ambitious and Kore-eda's approach too diffused, Air Doll does offer food for thought.
Audience Reviews for Air Doll (Kūki ningyō)
- Air Doll: We lead our scattered lives, perfectly unaware of each other. Or at times, allowed to find the other's presence disagreeable. Why is it, that the world is constructed so loosely? A horse fly, bathed in light, flies in close to a blooming flower. I, too, might have been someone's horse fly. Perhaps you, too, had once been my breeze.
- Air Doll: It seems life is constructed in a way that no one can fulfill it alone.
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