Nobody Knows (2004) poster

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  • Score: 8.3 (scored by 1,319 users)
  • Ranked: #709
  • Popularity: #1484
  • Watchers: 2,613

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Completed
Go-To-The-Extreme
20 people found this review helpful
Dec 22, 2011
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 10
The events were laid out in a steady pace. It seemed very realistic, and after I read about the original story behind this movie (Its based on real events) I just crumbled into tears. Makes you truly appreciate the parents you have.
The acting was impressive, the characters were mainly children but they sure know how to act! It was a rare find for me. A movie like this will shock you. Never knew such things happened.
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Completed
Kawaikochan
14 people found this review helpful
May 14, 2011
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 10
This is an amazing film. I can't even put into words how thoughtfully and carefully the casting, acting, direction, and cinematography were executed. This movie is depressing. It is also very quiet and can feel slow to some people. The only reason why I gave this movie a 5 for Music is because there isn't really any. I would have given it a 10 out of 10 for sound production because each noise contributes to engulfing you in the children's world.



In a nutshell: Great film for people who like quiet, thoughtful films. Avoid if you like fast paced movies or do not want to cry.

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Completed
Jianne
4 people found this review helpful
Apr 10, 2016
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
Hirozuki Koreeda draws inspiration from critically acclaimed director of Tokyo Story (sometimes said as the greatest film ever made...), Yasujiro Ozu who is known by his simplistic style and portrayal of Japanese family. Indeed, Koreeda delivers Nobody Knows with intense simplicity, precise details and raw emotions.

Inspired by true events (although fictionalized a little bit) by the Sugamo Child Abandonment Case, Koreeda presents an euphemized, less grim telling of the true events. It's a melodrama that's not depicted as a melodrama but carries the same intense and impact. I absolutely loved this film from the start to finish. Koreeda channels a contemplative style where details, time and dialogue drives the storytelling forward through its characters' actions. He maximizes the potential of his actors because it's presented in a way that's not exaggerated, not hyperbolic and not overly dramatic despite the film's central theme and plot.

I absolutely loved this film no doubt. Koreeda shows the passage of time through precise details from close-ups of feet, hands, tearing away of nail-polish, changing of the hair, color of the clothes and so on. That little Tokyo apartment depicts all the passage of time. The long cuts and the sudden shots of the children all show raw vividness and sincerity, it's as if they are being shot in their natural state which is how Koreeda really wanted it. The bond and the chemistry between all four children speaks volume and makes their presence feel very sentimental.

All four actors have zero acting experience prior to this film and you know what? That doesn't matter because it just feels so natural and so real that it doesn't matter. Young Yuki is just adorable. Shigeru though crazy is just cheerful. Kyoko is just simple and big brother Akira exhibits a boy-beyond-his-years. You see how the children change through their eyes and it's a very different perspective given to us as audience. The limited presence of adults did not matter because the young ensemble dominated the film well enough. Despite the serious subject, you cannot help but hate the mother (played by J-Pop star, YOU which IMO is a good choice) because each time she's on screen, she's shown as a bubbly, lovable mother. YOU's acting of a mother that craves love, somehow childish and the shots of putting on make-up all show that she craves the carefree life. But you can't hate her for that and Koreeda does that well. He also doesn't make you feel pity for the children instead he makes you admire them. These are all channeling positive emotions yet it's not a make-good film, it's a poignant coming-of-age portrayal.

Yuya Yagira, only 12 when he made this film, won Best Actor at Cannes at 14 for his role in this film beating famous names like Tom Hanks and being one of the youngest actor to win the award plus the first Japanese to do so. And he deserves it. Yagira acts with his eyes. He keeps the same all stoic face even when he's angry, when he's tired or when he just wants to run away from it all. He keeps the face. But it's the eyes that does the acting. He exhibits a maturity that's trapped in a child's body. A role where one is forced to grow up is shown so well through the children's little desire of toys, of games, to time outside of that cramp apartment, of friends, of baseball - these are all little details that Koreeda, the children and Yagira depict with intense vibrancy. Yagira is the anchor of this film showing such an emotionally complex portrayal of Akira.

The aesthetics of this film is just so nostalgic. Despite the very melodramatic theme, it doesn't feel grim or sorrowful so as a viewer, you feel hopeful. It's just so light that you can't help but feel good. With the in-depth use of camera, you are in there with them sharing their secret and you are helpless to do anything. Everything is overwhelming. But it's the overwhelming that makes you feel helpless as a viewer. This is great engagement between you and the film.

Koreeda uses symbolism, foreshdowing recurring shots that drives storytelling forward and perfect example of "Show Don't Tell"; is channeled throughout the film and it just touches you. I can't remember how many times I smiled seeing the same details used again and again to drive the story. For example, the opening shot shows Akira touching a pink suitcase, when the family moves in to the apartment, Shigeru is in that suitcase (I'll skip explaining why as to not spoil so much) and that very suitcase is used for a crucial plot element in the final half of the film.

Recurring use of a pink nail polish as well to show the mother's desire for youth and freedom and love and how Kyoko dropped it (another symbolism) and how the mother tried to wipe the stain (another symbolism) and how Kyoko is touching the stain months after the mother leaves (another symbolism) and the fading away of the nail polish shows the passage of time. It's repetition and making use of details so precise that makes the presentation of destruction of this family look so good and so beautiful and so clean even when it shouldn't be. Koreeda knocks you off your feet even when he doesn't have to try too hard.

Nobody Knows is not a film that's suppose to make you pity these kids (the ending is open-ended in some way) but it's a raw and vivid portrayal of family, of togetherness and of love and of courage shown through little details and utmost simplicity.

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Completed
_hanjae
3 people found this review helpful
Apr 20, 2013
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 3.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
A heartbreaking movie that made me realize how precious parents are.

I love the way this movie is filmed. It feels like you are with those kids... somewhere in the corner of their room watching them. It's also a silent movie with almost no music and not much conversations. It makes you feel like watching a dark documentary about someone's life.

The moments the kids share with their mother in the begining of the movie felt so real. The way they talk to each other, the way they play and they way they deal with difficulties later is so touching. It also shows how talented all those kids are.

I cried a lot and was even depressed the next day after watching the movie. I kept thinking about the kids who inspired this movie. I read their story and it was even more cruel that the movie.

Nobody knows is definitly one of my favourites. I recommand it if you like human stories.

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Completed
Heathenkitties
1 people found this review helpful
Aug 9, 2016
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 10
I saw this movie WAY back in the day, 2005 or 2006, when I hadn't seen too many Japanese movies. THIS MOVIE SHATTERED ME. These kids were amazing actors; the story was well-thought out, and the events were realistically portrayed. I'd give this more than a 10, if possible. All these years later, and I am still haunted by it. Not much music, so I gave that an 8.
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Completed
Senpai
1 people found this review helpful
Jun 29, 2017
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 6.0
"Children can not choose their parents."
This movie is based on actual incidents occurred in 1988. The facts were much more cruel than shown in the film. A woman lived with a man. She thought she had registered the wedding. When his son was born, the man said he had registered the birth. One day he left her and went to live with another woman. When the boy reached school age, she discovered that there was no marriage record or birth registration. Faced with this situation, she decided to hide her children from society.
She met several men and had 5 children, two boys and three girls, who were not registered and hidden from other people. When the second boy died of illness, she hid the body in the closet. While she works in a department store, the eldest son cared for three sisters. When the eldest son was 14, she left to live with the new man, who was 16 years older than she. She gave the oldest son her address. When the children were protected by the police half a year later, one girl was dead, and the two became weak when confined to a room and poorly fed. The girls were 3 and 2 years old respectively and still wore diapers, but they were changed only once a day. It is reported that the eldest son blamed himself for not being able to take good care of his sisters, instead of blaming his mother ...
Compared to the actual story, the film is less miserable. In the movie, even the little boy and the girl look normal and handsome, but in real life they were very poorly developed (research the story, it is absurd to see the state in which these children were).
But it was still more than enough to surprise me. What a "mother" or rather be despicable! In a conversation with the older boy, she says, "Can not I become happy?" She acts with that thought, without thinking about the same right about her children. His infant talk of spit describes his immaturity. And, of course, the men were more guilty. Unfortunately, children can not choose their parents.
All the children acted super incredibly well, very natural. In particular, the eyes of the older boy, Akira, are very impressive. The eyes tell many things about his miserable life.
A movie to think about how countries can be negligent but at the same time makes us think of who is to blame? Of Father? From the mother? Of society? Or our rulers who prefer to turn the coast than to help others? "I do not know" I only know that humanity has stopped being voluntary to become something profitable and of socioeconomic and socio-political interests.

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Completed
H1kikomori
1 people found this review helpful
Apr 5, 2016
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 6.5
STORYLINE: 8.5/10 - CHARACTERS: 7.5/10
The beginning of the movie portrays an ideal family life despite their lower social class, however due to choices made by the mother the children suddenly find themselves fending for themselves. The storyline is made that much sadder and heart-warming due to the fact it is a true story that I would advise to take some time to Wikipedia “Sugamo child abandonment case”. The sad fact of why a mother would choose to abandon her children for a man is disgusting in its right but for the children to even go through a death on their own broke me into tears and thoughts of life.

ACTING: 6.7 - Yagira Yuuya 10/10
Outstanding performance from the eldest child, Akira (Yagira Yuuya); for every scene he managed to produce the necessary emotions to make you truly believe which is such a rare portrayal of most present actors.

LIKED – The scene at the airport was rightly directed in a manner of absence of speech that as a viewer you are drawn in on the trauma that drove the children there.

CONCLUSION:
You should watch this drama if you enjoy genres such as FAMILY LIFE – LOVE - ABANDONMENT – DEATH – FRIENDSHIP – HOMELESSNESS – HOPE – NON FICTION – SOCIAL CLASS – MELODRAMA.

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Completed
Cimaco
0 people found this review helpful
Feb 9, 2019
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 6.5
Rewatch Value 6.0
This review may contain spoilers
Yeah, that's probably what I felt all through out. This is just so sad. It left me hanging on thoughts how can a mother be capable of such a thing. The children are just so precious, the potrayal of the eldest son is just as realistic as you wish he must be, he must be just as strong and responsible at that time. I can't rewatch this though, it's just so sad. After looking up the story this was based too, it was more unbearable to take. If you want your mind and soul to stay as calm as it is, then don't watch this. Watch this at your own risk of reminding yourself how cruel other people can be.

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