From the director of Nobody Knows (2004) comes this strange and yet beautiful film. Hirokazu Koreeda is an incredibly visual storyteller, setting the film with sparse dialogue and instead focusing on recurrent images coupled with some voice over elements of repeated narration. This is one of the few instances where I think the voice over 'narration' works very well, it suits the subjectmatter perfectly. The story is strange, quirky, and at times funny, but the film is also quite long and somewhat bizarre. The film received mixed reviews, with a rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 43%. The premise of this film is fascinating, a blow up sex doll gains consciousness and the film explores her growth of a 'heart'. This film is fascinating and not straight forward, instead focusing of the journey of Nozomi the blow up doll played superbly by Doona Bae (Cloud Atlas, 2012 & The Host, 2006). Doona Bae's performance is a joy to watch as she is this doll-like childish creature experiencing the world for the first time, and yet at others conveys an amazing sense of melancholy and emptiness. The story also includes a number of vignettes and fragments of other characters perhaps Koreeda's attempt to display other stories and social elements, particularly focusing on Japanese women. This film is a beautifully shot poignant exploration into the cultural and social aspects of gender roles of women in modern day Japan. The use of fantasy semi-scifi elements give the film a somewhat dream like in quality like Alice in Wonderland and is reminiscent of French director Michel Gondry's work. In particular in The Science of Sleep (2006) and Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004). Overall a strange yet compelling film, with great performances and gorgeous imagery and cinematography.