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I Wish (2012)



Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 1,900

My Rating

Movie Info

Twelve-year-old Koichi lives with his mother and retired grandparents in Kagoshima, in the southern region of Kyushu, Japan. His younger brother Ryunosuke lives with their father in Hakata, northern Kyushu. The brothers have been separated by their parents' divorce and Koichi's only wish is for his family to be reunited. When he learns that a new bullet train line will soon open, linking the two towns, he starts to believe that a miracle will take place the moment these new trains first pass

Nov 6, 2012


Magnolia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (69) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (64) | Rotten (4)

Every performance works, every character fits, every observation rings true.

February 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What's so remarkable about the happiness the film brings is its simplicity.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like a train, "I Wish" is slow to build momentum, then it carries us away in a wondrous rush.

June 22, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You watch it remembering the days when you should have walked but simply had to run, and when you believed that, if you wished hard enough, your dead pet just might come back again.

June 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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What a kind and wise movie this is.

June 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[The] film is built around performances by two real-life brothers who are as unaffected, spirited and lovable as I can imagine, and one of the pleasures of "I Wish" is simply spending time with them.

May 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unique, leisurely subtitled film about parental separation.

August 26, 2014 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

All life in its haphazard glory is here, but it's the children's friendship that holds you tight - and as the two trains crossed on the cinema screen, I wished more films about childhood were as good as this.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

A charming, magical-childhood film from Japan

February 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Sweet without being sickly this matches a sunny view of family life with irresistible performances from real-life brothers.

February 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

It's Koreeda's subtly elliptical storytelling and measured control of character, locale and pace that makes this so engaging.

February 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The film is long and slow but repays close watching because Kore-eda is one of Japan's best contemporary directors and he avoids sentimentality throughout.

February 8, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Even without much of a plot, this meandering Japanese film holds our attention with a clear-eyed attention to character detail and situations that spark our imaginations.

February 8, 2013 Full Review Source:

Undeniably beguiling, but more manufactured-feeling than Kore-eda's top-drawer work.

February 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

We all spend so much time yearning for films as good as this, and to this reviewer at least, the latest great work from Hirokazu Koreeda is pure wish-fulfilment.

February 7, 2013 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

The spirit of Spielberg, transplanted to the east. Bliss.

February 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Everything is fresh in this stations-of-childhood story lit up by stroboscopic flashes of wit, beauty and perception.

February 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

The moving and deeply satisfying work of a director who just keeps on getting better.

February 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian

A small film with humble ambitions, I Wish is a gentle piece that children may find dull, but tearful adults will recognize that Koreeda captures the essence of childhood dreams.

February 4, 2013 Full Review Source: The List
The List

The plot meanders but Koreeda's hand is deceptively sure: the detours all add up in a climactic montage of gentle, effortless poignancy.

January 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

A pleasing but slow-moving family drama.

December 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It is rare to find a coming of age film that reflects childhood in an accurate way, let alone one that combines this with such enjoyable whimsy, sweetness and tenderness.

December 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A tender tale of wishing for a miracle to hal a fractured family.

October 4, 2012 Full Review Source:

Natural performances from the two real life Maeda brothers carry the film and the way Kore-eda immerses us in provincial Japanese life is exceptional

September 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

I Wish excels at evoking a child-like state of mind in all of its wonders and concerns because of Kore-eda's astuteness in following how kids make sense of the world and change their perspectives.

August 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Audience Reviews for I Wish

When a 12-year old Japanese boy hears that if you make a wish at the exact time two bullet trains pass it comes true, he gathers his friends for a trip to the magical spot so he can wish for his broken family to be reunited. Sweet and minor, made with obvious love and care, but my unfulfilled wish was that the film would dump two or three of its meandering subplots and end about 30 minutes sooner.
September 19, 2012
Greg S

Super Reviewer

A delicate film that relies on the talent and charisma of its young actors, making us easily relate to their dreams and wishes in a simple but quite honest story. Koreeda proves again that he knows well how to draw natural performances from children.
April 15, 2012

Super Reviewer

I'm a sucker for movies about siblings, so I really wanted to see this one.
It's sort of a modern Ozu movie. It has a similar pace and just like some of Ozu's movies, it's about family in a changing society.
March 16, 2012

Super Reviewer

In "I Wish," Kenji(Jo Odagiri), a musician, and his wife Nozomi(Nene Ohtsuka) have separated. Not only that but they have left their mutual home in Osaka to return to their hometowns. Nozomi took their eldest son Koichi(Koki Maeda) with her to live with her and her family in the shadow of an active volcano where his new school is at the top of a hill. Ryu(Ohshiro Maeda) gets to live with his father. So, both brothers live parallel lives, making new friends along the way. One day, Koichi overhears a conversation about how if one makes a wish where two bullet trains pass each other, it is bound to come true.

"I Wish" is lighter and less focused than Hirokazu Koreeda's other films that I have seen with an engaging plot that it occasionally forgets in favor of subplots like the grandfather(Isao Hashizume) making cake and other digressions that seem more suited for television programs that have the time to fully explore them.(As good as his movies usually are, this is not the first time they have reminded me of television.) Admittedly, in the grandfather's case, that might have something to do with new traditions superseding old traditions in Japan. In any case, there is just too much good will accumulated to not recommend this movie, despite its flaws and its protracted ending.
May 20, 2012
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • I Wish (Kiseki) (DE)
  • I Wish (Kiseki) (UK)
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