Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
★★★ / ★★★★
Like “Millennium Actress” that was also directed by Satoshi Kon, “Tokyo Godfathers” feels like ordinary story on the outside but has something extraordinary within. It’s about three homeless people–Gin (Toru Emori), a father who lost his family, Hana (Yoshiaki Umegaki), a maternally-obsessed transvestite, and Miyuki (Aya Okamoto), a young runaway too ashamed to return home–who find a baby in a dumpster during Christmas Eve. After deciding that they’ll return the baby to its parents, they learn so much about themselves and each other. I liked the fact that this film does not shy away from using coincidences to get an emotional reaction from the audiences. To me, it didn’t feel distracting because that’s how life is sometimes: a series of coincidences that reminds and defines who we are and how much we’ve changed from the past. I also liked the common theme of funny things coming out of a sad situation and sad things coming out of funny situation. Again, that realism so endearing to me because most animated films I see are labyrinths of fantasy. It’s refreshing to see a potential real life story being told in a different medium. For a nintey-minute movie, the picture was efficient enough to feature each character’s backstory so we truly get to understand their motivations and how they’ve become homeless; it’s nice to see that, to some of them, homelessness is merely a byproduct of escaping some sort of shameful things they’ve done in the past. And like real people, these characters sometimes lie to each other and then later on we get to discover the truth from their actions. This is a very strong film because it straddles many different genres yet feel complete and very human. As for those who are knowledgeable to some sort of a Christian background, there’s something extra special for them because the three homeless individuals could mean something more.