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Though perhaps best appreciated by those familiar with Banana Yoshimoto's 1988 cult novel, this film version offers a quirky love story that will still please the uninitiated. The story is presented from the viewpoint of Louie, a young hairstylist who attends the funeral of the grandmother of his friend Aggie. The old woman had been one of Louie's customers. Aggie wants to be a chef, but following the loss of her grandmother, the only family she had left, the girl falls into a deep funk, finding comfort only in the aromas found in her refrigerator. Louie lives at home with his mother Emma, a nightclub owner. Hoping to lift Aggie's spirits, he invites her to spend the night. There she learns that Louie's mother was once his father. It seems that following the death of Louie's real mother, his father was so bereaved that he underwent a sex change operation following his wife's death in order to keep her memory alive. This intrigues Aggie and she and Emma become close friends. She then moves in with Louie and Emma. Louie and Aggie soon become best friends, something that angers Louie's girlfriend Jenny. Still the threesome are happy in their new friendship until one of Emma's beaus learns of her past and reacts violently. Thrown into an emotional tailspin, Louie runs off to the Sichuan province on the Mainland, leaving only Aggie to save him from ruination. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi


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