Shohei UnoMitsuki TakahataMasato HagiwaraMakiko Watanabe
A Banana? At This Time of Night?
Also known as: Konna Yofuke Ni Banana Kayo: Kanashiki Jitsuwa
Medium: film
Year: 2018
Director: Tetsu Maeda
Writer: Hiroshi Hashimoto
Actor: Chie Ayado, Masato Hagiwara, Hanae Kan, Haruma Miura, Raita Ryu, Mitsuki Takahata, Shohei Uno, Makiko Watanabe, Yo Oizumi
Keywords: didn't bother finishing it
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 120 minutes
Website category: Japanese
Review date: 2 September 2019
It's clever, light and funny. It's also adapted from a 2003 novel that's based on a true story. I was enjoying it... but I stopped after half an hour. I was on a plane back to the UK, it was late, I was already jet-lagged and I wasn't really in the mood.
Eventually I watched Doraemon instead, but I'd still provisionally recommend this.
It's about a 34-year-old man, Yasuaki Kano (Yo Oizumi), who suffers from muscular dystrophy. He's already beaten his doctors' predictions by staying alive this long and he doesn't even trouble the local hospitals. He does, though, need carers to look after him day and night. He has a remote-controlled wheelchair and he can use his head. That's it. Someone needs to stay with him all night and turn him over to prevent bedsores. If he wants some pornography, a carer needs to watch that with him too. Bath time needs five nurses.
Yasuaki made this happen through force of personality. In other words, he's a bit of a jerk. You can't hate him, but it wouldn't be hard to find him irritating. He demands that everyone fulfil his every whim, even in the middle of the night (hence the film's title), and he'll claim that they're doing it out of love. That said, though, he's also a fun character to watch and his sheer energy is admirable.
There are two other key characters. Hisashi Tanaka (Haruma Miura) is a medical student and one of Yasuaki's volunteer carers. Meanwhile Misaki Ando (Mitsuki Takahata) is Hisashi's girlfriend, who makes the mistake of showing up at Yasuaki's house one day. She gets shanghaied into being another carer. She's unimpressed by this and regards Yasuaki as a pain in the arse, but he likes her.
This set-up is fun. I think what put me off a little was the scene where Yasuaki writes Misaki a love letter, with of course Hisashi being the one who takes dictation. That's an amazing love triangle. It's funny. However it also winds me up a bit, because Hisashi really should have mentioned that Misaki is his girlfriend. I can imagine all kinds of witty scenes spinning off from that... but I probably wouldn't enjoy them if I was hostile to their premise. Hisashi, tell him. Misaki, tell him. However maybe I was jumping the gun and they do?
So far, it's a good film. I'd have probably kept watching under most circumstances. Definitely one of the cleverer, wittier films I saw on that flight.