I have waited for this film since the start of this year. The film is based on the book of Haruki Murakami of the same title which in turn comes from the Beatles’ song.

The film was directed by Tran Anh Hung and was released in Japan in December 2010. The film stars Kenichi Matsuyama (L change the World)  as Watanabe, Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) as Naoko and Kiko Mizuhara as Midori. It was presented at the 67th Venice International Film Festival in September of 2010. Jonny Greenwood scored the film.

This version is in Japanese with Vietnamese subtitles, it helps that I understand Japanese but I don’t think I’d buy the DVD sooner or later if I’d like it in English. ^_^

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Plot (per wiki)

Toru Watanabe is a quiet and serious young man in 1960s Tokyo whose personal life is in tumult, having lost his best friend Kizuki after he inexplicably commits suicide. Seeking an escape, Toru enters a university in Tokyo. By chance, during a walk in a park, Toru meets Kizuki’s ex-girlfriend Naoko, and they grow close. Naoko is devastated by the loss of Kizuki, however, and spirals into a deep depression.

After Naoko’s 20th birthday, which she shares with Toru, she withdraws from the world and leaves for a sanitarium in a remote forest setting near Kyoto. Toru is anguished by the situation, as he still has deep feelings for Naoko, but she is unable to reciprocate. He also lives with the influence of death everywhere, while Naoko feels as if some integral part of her has been permanently lost. He continues with his studies, and during the spring semester meets an attractive girl and fellow student Midori, who is everything that Naoko isn’t — outgoing, vivacious, and supremely self-confident. The story then follows Toru as he is torn between the two women in his life, and choosing between his past and his future.

Norwegian Wood, as the book was, is a languid yet compelling movie about love and loss, imbued with struggles about life, death, art, hypocrisy, freedom, responsibility and solitude.

I love how the film was shot, where it was shot and the fact that its gifted writer-director Tran Anh Hung is never afraid to bore his audience to point out one of man’s biggest conflict: solitude.

I enjoyed the movie but as always, I would’t trade the book for anything. The magic that the book has will be different from what is portrayed in the film.