Matsuyuki Yasuko as Nagakura Reiko
Kamiki Ryunosuke as Nagakura Akihito
Tanimura Mitsuki as Maruhashi Ikuo
Screenwriter: Tatsui Yukari
Raising a child is difficult. Being deaf and raising a child is impossible. Nagakura Reiko (Matsuyuki) has heard these words for as long as Akihito, her son (Kamiki), has been alive. Reiko, who has struggled with life telling her that she is unable to do anything because of her disability, is adamant that Akihito will live a life completely different from her, without prejudice. Akihito was born with his hearing intact and since young, had a natural talent and love for playing the piano. Although Reiko is deaf, she assures Akihito that she can hear his music because their hearts are connected. As Akihito grows up, he is level-headed and used to accompanying his mother to help translate her sign language. But also at this time, he grows a frustration for piano because his teachers tell him that even though he can play the notes, there is no passion. This is the story of a mother and a son: a mother who wants the best for her son and a son who no longer has the energy to fight for his mother’s dream.
Coming of age, family drama
Positives: The acting, the beautiful signing. Matsuyuki is a force to be reckoned with in here. Her expressive eyes more than speak for her. The cinematography is simple and effective. The script is well written and more importantly, paced well.
Negatives: I have mixed feelings on Kamiki Ryunosuke’s acting. The piano scenes were also just okay.
When you throw in two veteran actors with a stifling age gap, results vary. I’ve only seen parts of Matsuyuki’s performance in the sorely forgotten Perfect Report drama. Her magnetism and conviction was what pushed me to continue to watch the mediocre drama.
Kamiki, on the other hand, has been like a golden egg that I’ve had my eye on. He’s young but he shows a lot of promise. I think that for Kamiki, what I wonder the most about is how he’ll transition from the label of a child actor to an adult actor. I think that here, in Kokoro no Ito, there was a glimpse of Kamiki facing that hurdle.
Kokoro no Ito is a simple story. There is a deaf woman named Reiko who lives with her son Akihito in a small apartment. Though they live a humble life, the two are in sync and are simply used to living their lives the way that they have. Reiko works at a processing company gutting blowfish. Akihito is a high school student preparing for university exams. Reiko dreams of Akihito becoming a professional pianist and lovingly sews him a cover for his piano. As Akihito grows up, he becomes increasingly aware of how different his life is compared to other youths. He feels old and more like a parent than a child as he goes with his mother to meetings with the developers planning to tear down their neighborhood.
The communication between a mother and son transcends words. But as time passes, their thoughts change and their opposing opinions clash. Communication is lost and anger is sown and frustration spirals out of control.
Kokoro no Ito, or A Hearts’ Thread, perfectly illustrates the disintegration of Reiko and Akihito’s relationship while at the same time showing that broken things can be mended, that there is always a thread waiting to be connected to another heart.
Matsuyuki challenged Kamiki to find his role, to live his role, to become Akihito and I don’t know if I can confidently say that Kamiki gave the best Akihito he could. Every time Matsuyuki acted against Kamiki, I was hard pressed to stay impressed by Kamiki’s resume. That’s not to say that Kamiki gave a horrible performance. He didn’t. He acted his role well, but I don’t believe that he was able to reach that next step just yet. He tried and he failed. He was outshone by Matsuyuki’s Reiko.
I think that Kamiki has been riding high for most of his career. He has been acknowledged ( by myself included) as a very capable young actor but not yet as an adult actor.
He’s at that point in his life where he’s straddling a line between adulthood and childhood. I believe that he will try to find more mature roles in the next few years. Because of his baby face, he’ll struggle with headlining any drama that isn’t school related for quite some time. With Kokoro no Ito, I want to believe that Matsuyuki Reiko pushed him to remove himself from his comfort zone. She taught him a lesson by completely overpowering him with her acting to show him that there is a long road ahead of him, and it’s up to him to push forward.
I look forward to future Matsuyuki Yasuko projects and really should look up her performance in Mother. Kamiki has hopefully learned much from this experience.
Also, Tanimura Mitsuki did a competent job as the go-between for Kamiki and Matsuyuki. Sorry. I don’t have much to say about her. She wasn’t bad but she also wasn’t exactly memorable. I do give her props for not backing down against Matsuyuki though.
The Ending: Neatly wrapped up but not so much that it becomes diabetes-grade sugar inducing.
Final thoughts? It’s worth watching simply for the story.
9: Where have you been my entire life? Powerful, memorable and almost perfect.