Stephanie Kuroda is a joy to watch. So much of this film is the exposition of the near silent internal dialogue of the protangonist, Lisa, a cog in the wheel who finally has the courage one afternoon to walk away from modern life and to explore what moves her soul largely in the confines of her apartment. She gives herself license to breathe. This is shown literally when, shortly after leaving her job and her boyfriend, she places her inhaler inside a box alongside the alarm clock that used to send her downtown every morning. Uncertainty, fear, sadness, even boredom follow, as she is confronted now with a life of quiet routine away from the bustle of her former life. Her niece, a plucky old soul on the cusp of womanhood, steps in and out of her life as the Muse. There is a dramatic subplot involving the niece’s self-destructive mother, but that story really only serves to push Lisa, still awakening to her new life, out of the comforts of a self-imposed solitude that, we sense, otherwise could have been as soul numbing in time as her life had been prior. The film is courageous in its willingness to be slow, quiet, exploring the subtleties of Lisa’s reactions to the Chinese noodles in her cupboard or the daytime television she had not been able to watch when working. It is in these moments that Stephanie’s prowess as an actress really shines. We really see the life of her character in part because there is so little plot to distract us, but even more so because the actress is so genuinely expressive of whatever moves her in the moment.
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