When the Show Tent Came to My Town



IMDb Rating 7.6 10 71

Plot summary

December 30, 2022 at 10:10 PM


Top cast

994.48 MB
Japanese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 48 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tabuno 8 / 10

A Compelling Look At School Children Struggling With Life

16 July 2009. This Japanese film (thanks to digital broadcasting making foreign films much more available to a wider public audience) is a charming look at young Japanese school children having to cope with both their own personal lives, school bullying, cliques, and power plays, friendships, hidden secret lives, shameful personal fears, misunderstandings and a whole range of emotions and life conflicts that seem to abound while growing up. There are powerful scenes of happiness, shame, humiliation, fear, embarrassment. This movie is a slice of life with a vibrant but simple plot, whereby a school boy seeks to uncover the secret of the "wolf girl" who is part of a small traveling circus show. But it's also about how three children live individual and separate lives hiding much about themselves from others. The boy worries that his parents might divorce. Another girl seeks to avoid disclosing her real identity. Another copes with being labeled and belittled by her looks. By the ending, unlike the typical American wrap up, there is an acknowledgment of both sadness and happiness, of real life endings and perhaps beginnings. The one weakness, is the typical Japanese ending that seems to have to strain at the efforts of emotional repentance and struggle that seems so permeate so much of Japanese films. Nevertheless, this is a fine film with a number of film plot experiences which are valuable insights into the human condition and sometimes the oversights and flaws that we hopefully can overcome. 8/10.

Reviewed by screaminmimi 9 / 10

Charming, not saccharine, moral tale

The only reason I'm not giving it a 10 is that it uses some kid actors whose skills were not a match for those of the principals. Japanese children's movies are a little edgier than G rated movies in the U.S., so if I were giving it an MPAA rating, I'd have to give it a PG. I saw it with English subtitles, so it wouldn't be accessible to younger non-Japanese speaking children, in any case. This movie does not have a Hollywood/Disney ending, but it is a moral tale about doing the right thing and true friendship.

The story takes place in the 1970's and centers on three 11 year olds who attend a rural elementary school, Akira Ohta, Hideko Komaru and a new girl in class, who makes an impressive entrance, interdicting a bullying episode on the playground, and then introduces herself to her new classmates as Rumiko Tezuka.

Akira is a bit of a misfit and a dreamer who doesn't quite gel with his male peers. Hideko is a shy outsider who is the butt of everybody's jokes at school. Her tormentors call her "Wolf Girl", inspired by her seemingly feral demeanor and also by the presence of a Wolf Girl act in a carnival freak show encamped next to the town's Shinto shrine. Rumiko is a city girl, beautifully dressed, speaking impeccable, Tokyo Japanese and with a take-no-prisoners style of standing up to bullies. She seems an unlikely candidate to befriend both Akira and Hideko, which sets off a wave of gossip among both male and female peers, leading to more physical attacks and counter attacks.

There is a side plot involving the strained relationship between Akira's parents that contributes further to Akira's sense of isolation and emboldens him to violate school rules and find out who the carnival wolf girl really is.

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