I Wish Review

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Pre-teen brothers Koichi and Ryu are hit hard when their mum walks out on their dreamer dad, the former going to Kagoshima, the latter with their dad to Hakata. But when Koichi gets wind of a bullet train service connecting the two cities, he hatches a plan to reunite his family.


Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda is known for harrowing or bittersweet dramas (Nobody Knows, Still Walking). I Wish is far more genial. Two young brothers (Koki and Oshirô Maeda) are separated by their parents’ divorce, and live in different parts of Japan. The older boy (Koki, graceless and endearing) obsesses with reuniting the family, and takes his friends on a journey to cause a miracle. Well acted by all the generations, from grade-schoolers to grandparents, I Wish teems with daily life, quiet yearnings, funny observations and moving emotional cross-currents. However, it does feel very leisurely at 128 minutes.

Lovely but languid.