Hush!

A sweet and surprisingly unconventional look at the changing definition of family in contemporary Japan. Asako (Reiko Kataoka) is a deeply unhappy dental technician with little to show for her life other than one suicide attempt, two abortions, a stint in a psychiatric hospital and numerous bouts of depression. Asako's future looks equally grim, until the...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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A sweet and surprisingly unconventional look at the changing definition of family in contemporary Japan. Asako (Reiko Kataoka) is a deeply unhappy dental technician with little to show for her life other than one suicide attempt, two abortions, a stint in a psychiatric hospital and numerous bouts of depression. Asako's future looks equally grim, until the rainy afternoon in a Tokyo noodle bar when she overhears closeted gay engineer Katsuhiro (Seiichi Tanabe) and his new boyfriend, out-and-proud dog groomer Naoya (Kazuya Takahashi), discussing Katsuhiro's desire to one day have a child. Asako is struck by their apparent happiness and impulsively decides that the key to her own bliss lies in having a baby of her own. Using a borrowed umbrella as a pretext to visit Katsuhiro at work, Asako approaches him with an unusual request: She asks Katsuhiro to father her child. Katsuhiro, who hasn't entirely come to grips with his sexuality, sees Asako's request as an opportunity to defy conventional wisdom that gay men can't have families. Naoya disagrees; he's perfectly willing to accept that same-sex relationships are inevitably short-lived, and gay people must learn to live without certain things, children chief among them. Complicating matters is Nagata (Tsugumi), the possessive and vengeful coworker who's got a a crush on Katsuhiro and won't take no for an answer. Convinced that Asako is Katsuhiro's new girlfriend, she sets about sabotaging their relationship by alerting his family to her troubled past, and inadvertently blowing the lid off the life Katsuhiro has lived so carefully. The fact that Asako needs to have an ovarian cyst removed before she can become pregnant allows Katsuhiro and Naoya a chance to consider their options, and Hashiguchi time to explore each of the principal characters' own families. He finds each dysfunctional in its own way, no matter how conventional it may at first appear, and that there are no guarantees when it comes to domestic happiness. While not quite a comedy, the film tackles its relatively serious subject with an open mind and considerable good cheer, and is never less than engaging.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A sweet and surprisingly unconventional look at the changing definition of family in contemporary Japan. Asako (Reiko Kataoka) is a deeply unhappy dental technician with little to show for her life other than one suicide attempt, two abortions, a stint in… (more)

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