Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Sign up here
Already have an account? Log in here
and the Terms and Policies,
and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.
Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password.
We encourage our community to report abusive content and/ or spam. Our team will review flagged items and determine whether or not they meet our community guidelines.
Please choose best explanation for why you are flagging this review.
Thank you for your submission. This post has been submitted for our review.
Sincerely, The Rotten Tomatoes Team
So touching, so sweet & yet so sad. It made me smile, laugh, choke up and cry.
Touching, heartfelt, and subtle 'Sweet Bean' is a Japanese film that should leave all with wet eyes. Kirin Kiki (Tokue), Masatoshi Nagase (Sentaro) and Kyara Uchida (Wakana) play three generations, but not from the same family and they are all given purpose in large part due to the fantastic performance of Kiki who is the glue. A really good tear jerker that has some fantastic albeit formulaic themes! Final Score: 8.1/10
Why are most Japanese movies based around food ingredients or eating? Oh I know, because talking about politics and society is a taboo in Japan.
- Sweet Bean - Is more than just a movie, it's delicious poetry that can be enjoyed in small bites, like dorayakis. This wonderful movie is just simple and overflowing with wisdom, love and compassion, to describe it is not the best way, it is to feel all your emotions that take away, a little honey in hot milk, just to soften the heart. Magnificent.
As delicate as Japanese cinema can be. Even if the story is somehow hazy, you can fell the colours, smell and taste the dorayaki, and about all, the spirituality of these great people and their way they are connected with every single thing on earth. Lovely.
A film about the duality of life's beauty and pain.
Exceptional. A poetic hymn to the human soul and its mother, Nature. Deeply real and humane.
slow but great movie, inspiring...
Heartfelt and well-cast drama about the unlikely friendship of three outcasts subtly explores social restraints and what it means to deal with them.
- Sweet Bean is a Japanese tale with a whole lotta heart -
There is so much I loved about this film - and not just the virtual delicious smell of Japanese pancakes permeating the celluloid. The cinematography is luscious, detailed yet un-romanticised; the characters perfectly cast, and the story expertly and gently explores some pretty sensitive subjects.
The story takes place over a year inside a little pancake shop, run by grumpy owner Sentaro (Masatoshi Nagasi). He spends his days flipping golden pancakes and smudging them together with sweet bean paste to make 'doriyaki' for young giggling school girls and other passers by. One of those passers by is 'Tokue' (Kirin Kiki) a 76-year-old woman who seems a bit nutty yet very charming.
I immediately fell in love with Tokue. She waves at the cherry blossom tree with her old gnarled hands and seems to breathe in nature and life like each moment is precious and curious. Spying the 'help wanted' sign, she makes a convincing case to Sentaro to let him hire her after she brings him some of her own sweet bean paste. "I've been making An for 50 years" she says matter of factly. Tokue eventually begins working for him at the shop making sweet bean paste from scratch.
At first, Sentaro scoffs at her time-intensive techniques, she talks to the beans and lets them sit for hours on end. "It would be rude to mix them straight away" she says, and settles in to wait a few hours for them to cool. Despite Sentaro's skepticism, her recipe is a great success and business booms.
What I loved was the sheer joy we observed Tokue experiencing through working in the shop. There were literal "awws" coming from the audience as she delivered whispered lines to Sentaro like "This is fun" as she put stickers on the doriyaki bags as he flipped the pancakes. Not only did I believe she was having fun, I believed she was having the most fun she'd ever had in her life. I found myself thinking "if only I could find such joy in simple little tasks..."
It was this love I immediately had for Tokue that made it so heart breaking when she becomes the subject of some nasty gossip around the town.
By now, there's a third wheel in this wee pancake party, Wakana (Kyara Uchida), a lonely school girl who hangs out at the shop often and gets given the "reject" doriyaki at the end of the day. Kyara and Tokue form a special bond, which is made all the more powerful when we begin to find out about Tokue's past.
The film explores some important issues with a lot of compassion - respect for one's elders knowledge and experience, prejudice and fear around disease and disability, ageism, the importance of patience, and joy in the little things in life. I found it refreshing to see a film that explored all of these things so gently and with a lot of humour along the way.
I left the cinema moved, humbled, and determined to try a real homemade doriyaki when I next visit Japan.
This review was first published on Narrative Muse, http://www.narrativemuse.co/movies/sweet-bean, and was written Casey Cowan. Narrative Muse curates the best books and movies by and about women and non-binary folk on our website http://narrativemuse.co and our social media channels.