This haunting and mesmerizing story of love begins rather deceptively as Sandy (Toni Collette), an Australian geologist, bitches to her boss about being tasked with overseeing Hiromitsu (Gotaro Tsunashima), a young Japanese executive who has no patience for anyone who doesn't bow and show a business card. But take him on the town she does, even holding his head when he's puking after an all night karaoke bender. She's even more irritated the next day when Hiromitsu demands she drive him into the Australian outback. Then they get stranded. As they endure the heat and cold the two bond and make peace over stories of her mother and his wife and kids. The two forge a bond that transcends language and culture. And then director Sue Brooks, from a script that sometimes spells it our for you too much by Alison Tilson, unleashes a huge surprise no review should give away.
Japanese Story, superbly shot by Ian Baker, is a film you breathe in. Tsunashima is outstanding and Collette turns in one of her finest screen hours, radiating palpable intensity that shakes you. She's the real deal.