I found this curious review of One Million Yen Girl in Italian… now my Italian, actually I don’t have an Italian to speak of, but I will try to translate as best as I can. Or you know… you can Google Translate.
Road films with a female protagonist are quite common, but Tanada Yuki’s film takes an unusual direction. Instead of embarking in a self-liberation and self-discovery journey like the protagonists on the big screen have done since the women’s liberation movement on films like “Thelma & Louise” and “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, Suzuko (Yu Aoi) decides to leave simply because she no longer stands the human race, including her family and friends.
Tanada, who also wrote the screenplay, tells the story of Suzuko with mocking humor but also with perception on the difficulties and dangers usually found in human relationships. Her protagonist who is not bitterly disillusioned nor naive by her own self-delusion, has the confidence and is aware of herself, which is comforting, despite continuing to run into funny and embarrassing situations.
Her journey begins with the wrong choice of roomate, which leads to an absurd process in court and the unfairly smear of her criminal record. The incredibly heartless family, and the insufferable moralist brother don’t support her at all, so Suzuko decides to leave home without goals, except for saving one million yen (roughly $10 000 USD).
Why this sum of money? According to her calculations, it’s enough for renting an apartment and living alone – which is rather expensive in Japan, where tenants often have to pay a large deposit before they can move in.
After being on the road with the money, she ends up in a seaside resort, where she finds employment in a “sea house” (“umi no ie”, or a temporary shelter for bathers at the beach) and begins to restore her bank account immediately. The next stop is in the mountains, where she finds a job as a peaches collector and lives with her employers. Finally, she arrives to a city of the province, where she begins working at a market for home supplies.
I haven’t seen Hyakuman-en with subtitles yet, but I didn’t think her family was heartless. I thought her parents were a bit spinless… they lacked the attitude to tell her off and/or protect her. And her brother being a moralist? He’s what? 10 years old maybe? He’s a pompous brat at home because he is being bullied in school… I think. I would find his fault if he were the big moralist brother… but he is not. I thought he did care for Suzuko.
Also… I was under the impression she was saving money to pay her debt… no? I thought part of her fine was paying that sum of money to make up for what she had done to the roomate, and when she told her parents they didn’t have the attitude to do anything so she took matters in her own hands, and decided to pay the debt herself. Was I so wrong? Anyone who understands Japanese has seen the film, or subbed?