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Kick'em In The Ghoulies

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Modern Day Classic Film Review

 

The Ramen Girl  - 2008 


The Ramen Girl


I really did not know what to expect from this 2008 Film starring the Late Brittany Murphy, but as it looked like a novel idea, and was set in Japan I thought why not give it a go.


Even though a romantic rom-com, the brunt of the film is about Brittany's character Abby.

Abby is a young girl who does not really know what she wants to do in life, in the real world do we have a choice?.

I think most people go with the flow and what happens, happens.


After flying to Tokyo to be with her boyfriend only to be left stranded by a said boyfriend when he decides it's time to move on when he gets a job offer in Osaka, but there's no place for Abby to tag along.


Feeling distraught the young girl who has a boring desk job one night visits a local Ramen shop and ends up pouring out her heart to the owners who have no idea what she's going on about as they are Japanese speakers only.


After getting her fill of the warm noodles, vegetables and meat the young girl leaves. Returning the next day in a better state of mind and becomes obsessed about how such a small little noodle business can bring so many people together regardless of language.


Again she returns and sees that the owners' wife Reiko has a foot injury and decides she will wait on the tables to the bemusement of Reiko and her husband Maezumi the Ramen chef.


In a flash Abby decides that her goal shall be to become a Ramen chef and tries to convince Maezumi to teach her the trade.


In a bid to get rid of this crazy girl Maezumi tells her to go and come the next day at 5am, thinking she won't turn up as it's only fours away and he'll be rid of her.


But next morning at 5am Abby is there banging on the shop door, Maezumi gets up and opens the door half asleep and points to a stack of pots and dishes that need scrubbing, and goes back to bed again in hope that the crazy American girl will just go away.


What makes this film work is the whole language barrier, other than a few English speakers within the film all the other cast speak only Japanese, and if like me you viewed this on Amazon Prime video, there are no subtitles for the Japanese.


You only understand what Abby's saying or the odd Japanese word if you're lucky to know any. Yes, there are other English speakers but their roles are small and for the most part, you're dealing with the relationship between Abby and Maezumi for the most part who basically shout at each other and point at objects to get the desired reaction.


Like anything in Japan, food is as important as anywhere in the world, but presentation and how meals are prepared are like a ritual in Japan. Ramen is a noodle-based soup with vegetables, Scallions, and slices of meat all carefully prepared and placed in a large bowl where it all floats in a specially made broth-like soup. See your mouths watering now is it not?.


Abby just wants to find her vocation in life and if being a Ramen chef is her goal then why not?.


From belittling her by getting her to scrub the toilet and whatever else he can find her to clean Maezumi basically hopes she will give up.


But something in Abby pushes forward in trying to convince Maezumi to teach her the business.

She continues even when she prepares her own broth and he just picks it up and trashes it down the sink.


The setting of the film is quaint in its small streets of suburban Tokyo and the authentic casting of some really talented Japanese actors and actresses gives the film a style and presence to the proceedings.


Abby calls Maezumi by Sensei, teacher as we all know, the word applies to all teachings and the journey Abby goes on is one of learning a traditional art.


The film has its hidden story subplots, more so if you are viewing without any English subtitles for the Japanese language. You kind of follow it differently by viewing it like this though.


You kind of feel the frustration of Abby not understanding a word anybody says to her.


The film won't win any awards for originality, though the basis for the story is unique.

Also, you can see what the endings going to be like as these types of films often end on a high note, but maybe not entirely as you imagined.


Brittany Murphy gives a stellar performance here, she will make you laugh, make you frustrated and feel sorry for her. As for her co-star the legendary Toshiyuki Nishida he's brilliant as the grumpy Ramen Chef who just wants to be left alone, though this is due to his own hardships and sadness.


The Ramen Girl is a fun rom-com with an Asian flavour that simmers at first, then boils to perfection to its last Noodle.


Review by: Sertes Nake


Review Date: 03-10-2021


 

The Late Brittany Murphy

Actress / Singer
1977-2009

Brittany Murphy made her name in the 90s and in her caeer starred in a steady stream of blockbuster films and TV series, like ''Party of Five'' , Fraser, Nash Bridges and more.
Her film roles included the 1999 film Girl Interupted, 2001 Riding in Cars with Boys, 2005 Sin City, and 2006 film The Dead Girl.

Brittany sadly passed away after contracting Pneunomia and acute Anemia. Her death was a big story and there was even talk that she took so many over the counter drugs because she fell ill, that was also blamed for her death.

The inquiry got deeper when her husband British Film maker Simon Monkjack died just a few months later from similar symptoms and the coroner came to the same prognosis., and that they both died in the same apartment. 

It later came out that it was toxic mold in their apartment that may have atrributed to their death, but in the end their was no conclusion to suport . 

A shame really as looking at her roles, you could see she had a talent and was just starting to get the bigger and more lead roles in bigger pictures. 

Toshiyuki Nishida

Actor
Born :1947
Career: 1967- Present Day

Toshiyuki Nishida is a Japanese actor famous for various roles in his homeland. In the West everyone will know him as Pigsy from the 70s / 80s  TV series Monkey ( Saiyuki)  which aired on TV around the world and on the BBC in the UK in a English dubbed form.
Asain film fans will also know him as he starred in a couple of films with Takeshi Kitano and one with Takashi Miike called Sukiyaki Western Django in 2007.
And of course The Ramen Girl in 2008.
His latest venture is a 2022 Japanese TV series called 'The 13 Lords of the Shogun''

Credits

Director: Robert Allan Ackerman

Writer: Becca Topol

Production Company: Media 8 Entertainement / Digital Site Corperation

Distributed by: Warner Bros

Country: USA / Japan

Starring: 
Brittany Murphy
Toshiyuki Nishida
Sohee Park
Kimiko Yo
Renji Ishibashi
Tammy Blanchard


Length: 102 Minutes

Year: 2008

Language: Japanese / English

 

A fun rom-com with an Asian flavour that simmers at first, then boils to perfection to its last Noodle.



Sertes Nake - Kick'em in the Ghoulies.com