Posts Tagged ‘“Oh Lucy!”’

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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