Cha no aji (2004)
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Critic Reviews for Cha no aji
The film could easily lose a half-hour, but it rewards with a promise that there are unexpected marvels in the world and moments of real grace.
'Weird but cool,' as one character says -- yet the movie is also remarkably touching.
The most charming comedy in town, writer-director-editor Katsuhito Ishii's 2003 piece is a modern Japanese variation on You Can't Take It With You, with some lovely fantastical flourishes.
A description someone gives of a song involved in one of the film's many detours neatly summarizes the movie itself: 'It's more cool than weird, and it stays in your head.'
Audience Reviews for Cha no aji
"The Taste of Tea" begins with Hajime(Takahiro Sato) devastated because the girl he has a crush on is moving away before he was able to fully express his feelings to her. His younger sister Sachiko(Maya Banno) has problems of her own with a giant representation of her that hangs over everything she does. Their uncle Ayano(Tadanobu Asano) once had a similar problem with a Yakuza ghost until he conquered the horizontal beam which inspires Sachiko to try the same thing. More vulgar than it probably had to be, "The Taste of Tea" gets off to a good start with some coolly surreal images before spinning its wheels for its very extended running time. At least the film does not devolve into "Saragossa Manuscript"-like insanity but that's not to say there is much in the way of focus here, as tangents from the children's lives form at will. Some of them are amusing while others just sit there. And with a movie that is as formed around special effects and fantasy as this one, it is ironic that the one transcendent scene involves neither, just honest to goodness emotion.
Very enjoyable, I'm a sucker for weird Japanese movies with weird characters; the old gramps was hilarious n_n I liked the surrealistic edge. I'm glad I finally got to see it!
Rare is the movie that manages to be wonderful despite being incredibly convoluted and about half an hour longer than it should. The Taste of Tea is a wonderful exception. Yeah, it meanders aimlessly between more characters than you can shake a stick at, but it's so unabashedly charming that I didn't care. I just sat there and enjoyed myself, laughing during some of the more memorable sequences. If you're in the mood for something "quirky" but don't want something overtly weird, this is the way to go.
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