Namiya 解憂雜貨店 (2017) - China
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (FCCA)
Chinese remake of Japanese tearjerker Namiya is not exactly necessary, but on a tearjerking and nostalgic level, the film works to maximum effect and with its less complicated characters, simpler story telling, it is likely to reach a broader audience. Before launching into the review, I must admit that despite the slow pacing of the Japanese original, I thoroughly enjoyed it along with the performances and story. With the Chinese remake, despite knowing what will happen next, it still hits you where it matters and that’s perhaps precisely why Director Han Jie manages to create emotions through extremely human characters that we all relate to.
Starring rising Chinese actors Dilraba, Dong Zijian and Lee Hong-chi, the trio is given far more focus than the Japanese film. The result is less on the Namiya (played by the excellent Jackie Chan) and more on the trio and the impact and connections of the Rainbow orphanage. Chan shows good presence in a short cameo.
All in all, Namiya may not actually be asked for or even requested by fans of the original, but it goes to show just how magical the original novel is. Whether you like the Japanese version or this one, it doesn’t really matter as the message and well meaning notions remains the same. We need to keep working hard towards our dreams and don’t ever ever give up till it’s all over. Both films remind us to stay strong and whilst Namiya spells out it in more obvious manner, it isn’t necessary a terrible thing. For the record, my eyes were watery and my heart emoted in both films.
I rated it 7.5/10