Reviews written by Joseki101

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2005
 
2009-10-04 01:58:23 Joseki101
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
Joseki101 Reviewed by Joseki101    October 04, 2009
Top 50 Reviewer  -  

One of the brightest, most perfect gems

A short review cannot do justice to the magnificent achievement of this drama. It is profoundly satisfying in terms of acting, content, dialogue, subject treatment, and depth of feeling and presentation.

Most will be familiar with the profoundly sad, yet heartachingly courageous, story of the character's real-life counterpart: an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life, "chosen" by a cruel and extraordinary disease. Ikeuchi Aya is based on the real life diary "1 Litre of Tears", a painful chronicle of one girl's gradual deterioration and excrutiatingly slow death to a neurodegenerative disorder.

Translating this diary to the screen is fraught with potential problems: one must do serious justice to the pain and tragedy of the story. One must not be afraid to cry and dream with the real sentiments of the characters. One must accept that hope, even in the face of hopelessness, is the only real choice. One must acknowledge that life is precious, and that the heart speaks its own language, even when the mouth shuts and hands go still.

But the producers, actors, and everyone else involved in this project succeeded perfectly. This is an enormously powerful documentary, full of life and tragedy, that leads us through the words and struggles of Aya as, day by day, she loses pieces of her self.

Nothing is spared in the process: we see the range of responses to Aya's long, slow goodbye -- the initial courage, but later fatigue; the attempts at humour; the cold, clinical mood of doctors; the heartless glances of gossips; the general discrimination of society towards the disabled. But Aya, magnificently portrayed, brings a mixture of courage and fear to each and every day, trying to make the most of whatever abilities she has in the present moment.

Like all Japanese dramas, some stock characterization is evident: the angelic and sacrificial mother, the aloof and enigmatic boy-hero who proves to be truly loyal, and the jokester father. But where this drama succeeds so perfectly is the brilliant interpolation from the real Aya's diaries: the words, examples, and deeds are part the work of screenwriters, but mostly the true and authentic words of the sick Aya. The script moves magnificently between the various moods of tragic and heroic that a life-threatening illness bring out in both the one suffering, and those who suffer with her. It is impossible, or was for me, to get through an episode without shedding pure tears of awareness.

Aya's diary has sold over 18 million copies -- for someone who frequently hoped that, despite her severe handicap, she could help people -- she continues to help people.

This drama deserves the highest praise for its sensitive, and sentimental, touch in truly commemorating the life of Aya--her words which thrive on with such power. A faultless piece of true entertainment and enlightenment. This drama will change lives. It changed mine.

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