A 2006 Japanese film written and directed by Tetsuya Nakashima, based on a novel by Muneki Yamada.
Young aspiring-and-failing-at-it musician Shou, fresh from a painful break-up, is called to clean out the apartment of a recently deceased aunt he never knew he had. Aunt Matsuko, at the time of her death, was a bloated, miserable bag lady, living surrounded by mountains of trash and filth, with no friends or job. Guided by her belongings and stories told by people who knew her, Shou ventures on a journey through the life and times of Matsuko Kawajiri. He finds a starry-eyed woman who faces more than her fair share of disappointments on her quest to find the prince of her dreams. The film spans several decades, from Matsuko's childhood in the 1950s to the present day in the year 2001.
While the story itself is quite tragic, it's peppered with upbeat musical numbers and colorful fantasy sequences, resulting in high amounts of Mood Whiplash.
Provides examples of:
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: The hope of being reunited with her hairdresser sweetheart keeps Matsuko hanging on through her time in prison. Sadly, when she finally gets out, she finds out that he has moved on.
- Anachronic Order: The story is told via flashbacks that aren't presented in the chronological order.
- Break the Cutie: Smash the cutie, shatter the cutie, crush her into tiny little bits.
- The Cameo: Singer/actress AnnaTsuchiya, one of the stars of Nakashima's Kamikaze Girls, has a brief non-speaking role as a prisoner in a montage.
- Driven to Suicide: Matsuko jumps out of a window after killing her pimp, but pulls herself together. Her depressed author boyfriend Tetsuo winds up killing himself.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: And flowers. Lots of flowers.
- Extreme Doormat: Matsuko, who'd rather stay in abusive relationships and let men walk all over her than be alone.
- Freudian Excuse: Matsuko's desperate longing for love appears to stem from her not getting enough attention from her father, whose affections always seem to be concentrated on her sick little sister.
- Hot for Teacher: Ryu for Matsuko, as he confesses to her when they meet years later.
- Ill Girl: Matsuko's little sister.
- Japanese Christian: Shou encounters a tramp who carries with him a tattered copy of the New Testament. He later turns out to be Ryu, who turned to Christianity to seek comfort and redemption for his sins.
- Mood Whip Lash: Quite a bit — horrible heartbreaking tragedy strikes, Matsuko sinks into despair... but then pulls herself together and sings with sparkly cartoon birds. Rinse and repeat.
- The Musical: With a pretty damn sweet soundtrack, too
- Nice Guy: Kenji.
- The Pollyanna: Matsuko manages to preserve her starry-eyed disposition and soldier on through an admirable amount of crap before her spirit breaks for good.
- Painting the Medium: Blood splatters on the camera lens after Tetsuo gets run over by a train.
- Posthumous Character: Matsuko.
- Time-Shifted Actor: Child/adult Matsuko and teen/adult Ryu.
- The Un-Favourite: Matsuko feels like one since her terminally ill little sister gets a lot more attention than her.
- Well Done Daughter Gal: See Freudian Excuse above.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Matsuko.