Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 30th October 2012
Reviewed as part of 16th Japanese Film Festival [JFF], Sydney and releasing in cinemas across Hong Kong from 25th October 2012
Hong Kong Box Office Taking: HK$330,010
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“Akko-Chan: The Movie” (“Akko-Chan”) is a film that takes the reins of a child getting her wish granted of magically transformed into adulthood. The premises have been done to death, but somehow, this film still manages to charm its audience with plenty of fun along the way.
Films about a kid magically growing up and experiencing adulthood are definitely nothing new. Andy Lau grew up quickly in “Wait ‘Til You’re Older”, Tom Hanks tasted the trend with “Big” and numerous other Asian movies have followed suit. Therefore “Akko-Chan” joins the long listed queue with the same well meaning, tried and true message of “cheating might gives you the desire result, but you will miss out on learning anything along the way.” Luckily, “Akko Chan” has something in common with all the above mentioned flicks, they are all good and fun films in their own right.
Haruka Ayase headlines the film as the title character. She is the reason why the film works. At times, Ayase is so effective that she comes off like a genuine 10 year old girl and the manner in which she is able to charm the audience with her innocence, yet true antics is absolutely amazing to watch. Although the film possesses a number of plot holes and ridiculous situations, Ayase somehow manages to pull the character off and manages to touch the audience in some crucial sequences. Masaki Okada shows good chemistry as the male counterpart in the midst of the cosmetic commercial world. Okada certainly possesses plenty of good looks and delivers an extremely likable performance, even if it is not outstanding. Muga Tsukaji (Handsome Suit) steals the show in his limited screen time as the helpful security guard.
Director Yasuhiro Kawamura does extremely well in balancing magic, love, never give up attitude and a well meaning message, by focusing on characters and emotions. The aspect, I particularly enjoyed about the film is the way it goes about telling a simple story about how not giving up even in the most dire and unattainable circumstance may well get you somewhere even if it is almost impossible to imagine. The film accepts this attitude and stick to it till the very end. Although, “Akko Chan” is probably a tad overlong and tends to drag out to its 2 hour running time, the film goes to the route of boredom.
All in all, “Akko Chan” is just another one of those kids growing up magically and experiencing the pain, the fight, the struggle of real adulthood lives. However, “Akko Chan” somehow weaves its magic wane and works. The film delivers a simple yet cliché attitude to life and even if it is not totally effective, “Akko Chan” remains a surprisingly fun and charming film with a tad of emotions buried within. (Neo 2012)
I rated it 7.5/10