A Beautiful Star
Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
Fantastical and full of wonder, this is the story of a family that comes to believe they come from other planets and are here to serve alien agendas. Number one among the crazies is patriarch Juichiro (Lily Franky); he’s the first to claim alien heritage, and he becomes convinced he has to save Earth from destruction. Soon after, daughter Akiko (Hashimoto Ai) is told by a classmate that she’s from Venus, and son Kazuo (Kamenashi Kazuya) starts claiming Mercury as his home planet. This is a comedy of sorts; you could also call it science fiction. But those labels sell the movie short: ultimately it’s unclassifiable, so unique it almost resists comparison.
Director Yoshida Daihachi can make a chandelier take on the feel of a celestial object, and he can take us from laughter to poignancy in the blink of an eye. His film is a thrill to watch—beautiful and dreamy even with its hectic tone. If there’s still a child in you who dreams of spaceships, if you ever look at the world around you and wonder if it’s coming to an end or if you’re just looking for beauty at the edges of reality, this movie is for you. Sending up television, consumerism and more, it does have its sardonic side. But the satire is mixed with drama, the drama is mixed with mystery, and those elements are subsumed in a design so subtle and original that they become almost indistinguishable. Thrilling, moving and hilarious, the film is a triumph of creativity.