This is one of those films that puts a smile on your face. It is all about 12 year old Koichi who has been separated from his little brother after his parents split up. He talks to his little brother all the time by mobile and just wants the whole family to be reunited. He has gone to live with his mother in his grand parents house in the sight of an ever angry volcano near the coats. Father and brother are many miles away in Fukuoakia.
Then they hear of the start of the new bullet train service and a knowing friend has heard that the energy produced when two of the trains pass each other is of such magnitude, that if you are present and make a wish at the same time, then that wish will come true. So armed with this news he decides it is his best chance to reunite his family. He tells Ryunoske of his plan who in turn tells his friends. Problem is they need the rail fare, so must also come up with some cunning plans to raise the cash for the plan to work.
It sounds pretty basic, but it is one of those films that although it is about the hope and dreams of children can translate across the generational divide. All of the little actors do a great job especially the two brothers who get that innocence and cunning in equal measure to be completely believable. This might be down to the direction of Hirokazu Koreeda who has allowed all the characters to have both their flaws and their strengths to great effect. In Japanese with good sub titles, this is a heartfelt film that does not shirk from the real issues around familial break down but also manages to bring the hope and innocence of youth into the mix for a genuinely enjoyable film experience.