Mother – Episode 01

L’article qui suit a été rédigé pour le blog collectif Couch Kimchi, tenu par 3 anciens membres du Coffee House Crazy Gang rencontrées via Soompi. Elles m’ont gentiment proposé d’y participer au gré de mes envies et surtout de mon inspiration. Je me suis donc lancée avec le drama japonais Mother (マザー) LA découverte de ce début d’année.

Attention : l’article est en anglais.

PLOT : when an elementary school teacher realized that one of her pupil is abused by her family, she decides to become her new mother and kidnaps her.

THOUGHTS
I wasn’t expecting this. The plot, the acting, the directing : stunning.

God knows I have my share of prejudices against japanese dramas ( stiff plastic expressions anyone ? ) but Mother made me eat my own words. And I am so glad. The 6 years old actress Ashida Mana (aka RENA) quite stole this episode. The way she handles this mix of  fresh clumsiness and sharp maturity is beyond me. All I know is that her smile broke my heart every. single. time.

Her character is immersed in a child abuse situation which I must say, was leaded pretty accurately. Most of the abuses are never shown. No over the top threatens or crying. Just this deadly silence in which the worst always happened, behind closed doors.  This topic could have gone right down the tear jerker’s road, but instead it makes you feel shocked and revolted. The crude truth was looking right at the viewers  : this child was litteraly disposable.

Now, on the other hand we have NAO (Matsuyuki Yasuko) a thirty something woman who ended up in an elementary school, after losing her job as a migratory birds’s researcher. She’s the quite loner type with no intent of becoming a mother soon. And yet, she will be the one who’ll take drastic action by taking Rena away.
In some synopsises, Nao’s maternal instinct is presented as the kidnapping’s trigger but I would argue that it’s not. Fare enough, I don’t believe in maternal instinct to begin with, but I honestly think that Nao’s impulse came directly from her own history. As we learn it at the end of the episode, she is actually an adopted child. This is when one of her previous line hitted me  :

“You weren’t abandoned. You’re abandoning her.”

It was to soon at this stage, to judge Nao’s actions (after all, she might just be one crazy lady) but I was sure of one thing : I was definitally in for this Thelma & Louise runaway.

THE GOOD

• The bonding between Rena and Nao. My favorite scenes : the letter assignment for the dead duck and the ice cream/dinner one.

• The shoes of Rena’s mother’s boyfriend. Just by seeing them, we totally get the wrong vibe’s going on.

• Nao loosing her hair. It hints for the fact that behind her quite front, Nao might be under some huge stress.

• Rena’s favorite things notebook : we should all start one.

• Rena’s way of speaking. So kawaii (cute).

• The mailboxes. It actually refers to the japanese baby hatch system which apparently really looks like a mailbox there. It shows Rena’s lucid side regarding her own situation despite her genuine love for her mom. Heart breaking.

• The creepy make up doll session following by Rena’s mother anger crisis. Er. Dysfunctional much ?

• The garbage scene. Plain. Wrong.

THE BAD

• I was a little confused by the flashback scene at first, I thought the woman was Nao when it was actually Rena’s mother.

• The bird’s metaphor is quite poetic in theory but me think that  it was used a tad too much in this episode. It is visually beautiful, I give you that, but it’s like everywhere. Thank god I’m not a bird’s phobic.

FAVORITE LINE

“Should we have the dead duck read them?”

SCREEN CAPTURES

Because sometimes, a picture worths way much more than a thousand words...

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