Mai Burôkun Mariko
2022 / 85m - Japan
My Broken Mariko poster


January 24, 2023


A nice but expected Japanese drama bound to fade in a sea of similar films. Tanada has been consistently releasing good films, but something is missing to push her work to the next level. While the drama is solid and the performances are on point, the emotional outbursts scattered throughout take away from the solemn experience.

Shiino and Mariko were best friends growing up, but they slowly drifted apart. One day Shiino is eating lunch when she hears a news report about Mariko's suicide. She visits Mariko's parents to pay tribute to her childhood friend, but once there she remembers how Mariko's father abused her. She takes Mariko's remains with her and goes on a little trip to reconnect with her old friend.

The best scenes are when Shiino and Mariko are together, not speaking but just being there for one another. Japanese drama is at its best when it's subtle and subdued, which is why the loud emotional outbursts of Shiino feel a little out of line with the rest of the film. I guess Tanada should look for some ways to set her films apart if she wants to stand out from the crowd, but fans of Japanese dramas will find a good film here.