A grandfather, who adores his family fills his family home with love, playfulness and art. A mother ,strives to show the world that she can have both a career and raise a family.
A son, desperate to win the love of his life through skill and intellect, and a daughter, who above anything else wants a gigantic version of herself to stop following her around, which can only be done by completing one…perfect…backflip. This, is A Taste of Tea.
A Taste of Tea is beautifully directed, with picturesque and peaceful scenes of Japan’s magical countryside emanating throughout. It is at its heart a film of love, everyday life and the magic behind a simple and happy existence. It’s also, incredibly weird.
It’s opening scene features son Hajime (Takahiro Sato) chasing a train which has the love of his life on board as she leaves town, only for the train to emit from his head leaving a train shaped hole in his brain and presumable, his soul.
Uncle (Tadanobu Asano – Mongol, Thor, 47 Ronin) tells a story of being trailed by the ghost of a yakuza man, who it turns out is pretty peeved that he took a dump on his skull after he died because he thought it was an egg (we never find out why he did this). A Taste of Tea is quirky, ambiguous and brilliant.
Although slow at times, it’s worth the grind. The characters are deep, rounded and human. It’s hard not to relate to at least one of the situations. Despite the comedy and the strangeness of it all, and in truth because of it, the Haruno family will become like your own family.
Director Katsuhito Ishii, works best with his main man Tadanobu Asano at his side, who before his glimpse into Hollywood in Thor has done several films with the director, including Party 7, Funky Forest, and my favourite title ever Shark Skin Man & Peach Hip Girl.
Ishii has created in A Taste of Tea, the essence of a series within a film. The pace, the cinematography, the development of characters made it feel like you’d watched ten episodes. There was no wanting, no loose ends, no confusion. It was instead well-crafted and complete.
Tomokazu Miura who plays the hypnotist father Nobuo gives a standout performance, particularly in one of the most heart-warming scenes I think I’ve ever seen. It’s a common troupe that a successful wife disappoints a husband who’s rather see here at home caring for the children.
In A Taste of Tea we see the complete opposite as Tomokazu delivers such pride, warmth and love through his facial expressions when he receives a call about her success; cementing my favourite line in the film, when he declares to a patient who’d dreamed of an angel five second earlier ‘my angel was phone’ after he hears the news of Akira’s (Tomoko Nakajima) success.
A Taste of Tea is a wonderful watch full of good and bad aspects, bad in the sense that they’re endearing like a terrible B movie you can’t help but love. Together they deliver a wonderful package, a delicious taste of tea. It’s not action packed, but it meanders into your soul and of course, towards the end wows you with possibly the worst CGI 2004 could deliver in possibly its most esoteric scene when a sunflower encompasses our entire solar system because yes, the Haruno daughter Sachiko (Maya Banno) DID complete the perfect backflip!
We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.