Such a gorgeous film!
oliviasaru | 07/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stunning cinematography and an engaging plot make this film a must-see, especially for Japanophiles and social historians. You experience the emotions of a Japanese "picture bride," who must find a way to live with an elderly stranger for a husband, in a place far from home. The circumstances which bring her to Hawaii are also a fascinating education in superstitions and prejudices existing at the turn of the century on both sides of the Pacific. Just beautiful."
The Deceptive Pastoral
Miguel B. Llora | Bay Point, California USA | 06/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Caught between a rock and a hard place, "Picture Brides" succumb to the "push" factors that force them to leave their homes (in this case Japan) to marry "site unseen" (except for a picture of a man halfway across the world) in this case, Hawaii.
Picture Bride centers around the life and time of the fictional Riyo (Youki Kudoh - who made the character "Pumpkin" in Memoirs of a Geisha famous), a 17-year-old who leaves Yokohama, Japan; in order to marry a man (as mentioned previously) she's never met. Set in Hawaii in 1918, Matsuji (Akira Takayama) it is revealed lied about his age. He is 25 years older than she is. Their relationship is unsatisfactory to both sides - her from the betrayal and him, well, you do the math. In the interim, Riyo, formerly of Yokohama is having difficulty coping with her new conditions - working in the sugar fields with one leg in Hawaii and another trying to book passage back "home."
Riyo meets up and forms a bond with Kana (Tamlyn Tomita), who teaches her to earn extra money by doing laundry for others after work in the fields - she fuels a dream to go home. Riyo, as previously mentioned is desperately trying to get back to Japan, puts money away until she slowly begins to see her condition from a different perspective - she will become a settler.
The movie is sensitively directed by Kayo Hatta. Hatta does an incredible job maneuvering this already tense drama which sets the stage for the likes of Snow Falling on Cedars but was presaged by Come See Paradise. Engaging in yet a different version of the deceptive pastoral, the movie is set in picturesque Hawaii.
Picture Bride is a tribute to the resilience of immigrants and an amazing filmic representation of a narrative that would have otherwise gone silent.
Useful study of Japanese Picture Brides
oliviasaru | 11/17/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After viewing the video, my 3rd time, I was struck by the difference of today's immigrants experience and those of the Japanese in the early 1920's. Viewing the video for an Asian American studies class, the vivid imagery of the movie along with the touching dialogue, "The Picture Bride," hit home what it really meant to be a picture bride. Marrying a man 20 years your senior, an idea that strikes most of us as digusting, but regardlessly, the movie captures the heart of the era of the Japanese Picture Brides."
BrKaT818 | East Coast, USA | 01/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's ashamed that this little gem hasn't garnered a larger following. "Picture Bride" is a terrific film that poignantly and accurately hits at the heart of the Japanese immigration to Hawaii in the early 1900's. A young girl, Riyo, apprehensively leaves Japan for Hawaii in order to marry a man she only knows through an aged photograph. Once there, she has to come to grips with the harsh reality that the man she is to marry is much older and the life in front of her is that of manual labor in the sugar cane fields. But through this a life is forged and a new generation is started in the beautiful Hawaiian isles. Having been born and raised in Hawaii, I can't begin to express how on-the-mark this film is. This, in part, is the story of my grandparents and my family.
The Hawaiian backdrop is wonderfully photographed. The performances are authentic and outstanding. Particularly impressive was the performance of Tamlyn Tomita who I had mistaken for a local (Hawaiian born) girl. Her demeanor, speech syntax and use of local dialect were dead-on. Kudos to director Kayo Hatta for creating this masterful and beautifully told tribute to all of those women who made such a journey.