Two brothers plot to reunite their broken family.
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda(PG)
This “magical” little import from Japan “might finally mark the mainstream breakthrough” of director Hirokazu Kore-eda, said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. The story of two young brothers who’ve recently been separated by their parents’ divorce, it so easily could have fallen prey to “nauseating sentimentality.” But Kore-eda “has a remarkable ability to work with children,” and he understands that cinema’s best child-adventure stories mix tender intimacy with “the slightest tinge of grown-up irony.” Tedious subplots are a problem early on, said Keith Uhlich in Time Out New York. Fortunately, I Wish “takes on an engrossing urgency” after the boys hear that wishes magically come true when two bullet trains cross paths for the first time. With a handful of friends, they sneak away to try to witness such a moment, and their quest “builds to a beautifully knotty resolution.” In the scenes where these kids share their unlikely aspirations, Kore-eda seems to have bottled the moment when children stand on “that cusp between magical possibility and adulthood,” said Chris Benderev in NPR.org. “It’s a tiny miracle that we’re allowed to revisit it here.”