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Posts Tagged ‘Josh Hartnett’

Josh Hartnett, Shinobu Terjima

“OH LUCY!” My rating: B- 

95 minutes | No MPAA rating

“Oh Lucy!” begins on a Tokyo subway platform with a man throwing himself in front of a train.  It ends on the same platform with two very lonely people sharing a hug.

What goes on between those points is a bit difficult to describe.

Atsuko Hirayanagi’s film is a character study, certainly, with Shinobu Terjima giving a quietly touching, occasionally comic performance as a middle-aged, unmarried office drone whose life is turned upside down by an English lesson.

But “Oh, Lucy!” is also a road movie, much of which takes place in California. And it’s a romance, too.

Setsuko (Terjima) is in her late 30s and living a life of quiet desperation. She’s considered a loser at work and still smarts over the fact that her sister Ayako (Kaho Minami) stole and married the one man Setsuko ever loved.

That union didn’t last, but it produced Netsuke’s cute/flighty niece Mika (Shioli Kutsuna), a waitress in a cafe where the help all dress like French maids.

Early in the film Setsuko reluctantly agrees to take over the English lessons for which Mika signed a contract but now cannot pay. Her instructor, John (Josh Hartnett), has some weird ideas about teaching — he gives his students English names (Setsuko becomes Lucy), makes them wear wigs, and because he’s teaching “American English” insists that conversations be punctuated with regular hugs.

Even that much physical contact is enough to make the love-starved Setsuko swoon. She’s soon fantasizing about her new teacher.

But not for long. Turns out John and Mika were an item. Now they’ve run off to Los Angeles, with the two bickering sisters — mother and aunt — in hot pursuit.

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Huisman,

Michiel Huisman, Hera Hilmer

“THE OTTOMAN LIEUTENANT” My rating: C

106 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“The Ottoman Lieutenant” flirts with heavy-duty subject matter — the onset of World War I, the origins of the Armenian genocide — but at heart it’s basically a romance novel of no particular distinction.

Lillie (Hera Hilmer) was born to a wealthy Philadelphia family, but she can’t wait to leave her privileged life behind. Against her parents’ wishes she has studied nursing.

Now, after attending a fund-raising lecture by an American MD (Josh Hartnett) operating a clinic in a far-flung region of Turkey, she finds the inspiration to travel across the ocean to dedicate herself to serving the poor of the Anatolia region.

Since the road from Constantinople is unsafe for a lone woman, Lillie is given a military escort, a dashing young lieutenant, Ismail (Michiel Huisman, a Danish actor familiar from the HBO series “Treme” and “Game of Thrones”). After a few close calls she is delivered to the remote clinic, where she is welcomed by Jude, the physician whose speech so inspired her.

A rather less hearty greeting is provided by the cranky and disillusioned Dr. Woodruff (Ben Kingsley), who doubts the usefulness of a moneyed American girl…at least until Lillie proves her worth in the wards and operating room.

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