Fantasia Film Review: If Cats Disappeared From The World

(Source: Toho Company)

(Source: Toho Company)

We’re getting close to the end of Fantasia and I’m still discovering movies.

I was recommended Akira Nagai’s If Cats Disappeared from the World by a friend. I had no idea what to expect, and perhaps that’s the best way to see this movie… Then again, perhaps you should read on 😉

Meet our humble hero (Takeru Satoh, also in Fantasia with Bakuman), a young man that works delivering mail on his bicycle. He’s a very loving son to his mother (Mieko Harada), who falls deathly ill and he’s distanced himself from his father (Eiji Okuda), a clock repairman. He broke up with his girlfriend (Aoi Miyasaki) a long time ago. His best friend (Gaku Hamada) is a film guru that gives him one movie to watch every day. He seems to be only close to his cat, Cabbage. If someone had showed up with a box of kittens at the door after this movie, they’d gotten rid of every single one.

One day, this young mailman gets migraine so strong he falls off the bicycle. He has been diagnosed with a tumor that will end his life. As he goes home, waiting for him is the devil in his own image. He’s got a solution for him. He will give him another day to live, but the world will be deprived of something. The mailman doesn’t get to decide what it will be, but he will get a day to say goodbye. But everything has a butterfly effect. The phones vanishing means he never got that wrong call where he met his girlfriend. Movies disappearing means he never met his best friend. Slowly the movie plays with the timeline bringing us a loving relationship between mother and son, who bonded over a kitty named Lettuce. The father always had his mind on his work, which was repairing clocks. You can already tell where the pieces are going to fall.

The surprise is how heartfelt and how tender the story becomes. Will our young mailman allow for his happy memories to be taken away? Can they really be taken at all? The movie soon shows that at its core, it’s not about what the mailman loses but what he remembers. It’s the life that we live which we often take for granted. It’s your family, it’s your friends, it’s the love you let go. It’s all your life’s memories that are worth more than one more day of life without them.

Highs: Surprisingly heartfelt drama about living every single day of your life. Very strong performances by Takeru Satoh, Aoi Miyasaki and Mieko Harada. Also, cats.

Lows: I can’t think of one. Don’t expect action.

Highly recommended dramatic story about life and memories. Although there’s some decent special effects, it’s very low key on sci-fi.

That will do for now.

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