Movie Review: Tokyo Godfathers (2003)


Title: Tokyo Godfathers
Release Date: November 8, 2003
Director: Satoshi Kon
Production Company: Madhouse
Summary/Review:

It’s Christmas in Tokyo and the snow is falling.  A trio of homeless people find an abandoned baby in the trash and their attempts to care for her lead them into a fantastical adventure. Each segment of the movie leads to a spectacular coincidence, which is usually an annoying element in filmmaking to me, but in this movie it works because of the time put into developing the characters.  The leader of the trio is Gin (Tooru Emori), an aging alcoholic who left his wife and daughter decades earlier because he had run up too many debts.  Hana (Yoshiaki Umegami) is the heart of the trio, a transgender woman who sees the baby as a miracle and names her Kiyoko. The youngest member is Miyuki (Aya Okamoto) a teenager who ran away from her controlling father.

The movie is very sweet with the three homeless people and the baby making a pseudo-family in a story that reflects the Christian story of the first Christmas. Subtly and effectively the movie deals with themes of poverty and inequality, crime, and mental illness.  It also has great humor and scenes of adventure.

Rating: ****