The Family Game


Comedy / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 77%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 958

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN
July 31, 2022 at 10:04 PM

Top cast

Jûzô Itami as Mr. Numata, the father
974.94 MB
Japanese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Meganeguard 9 / 10

Tough "Love"

Three years ago I took a class called Images in Japanese Popular Culture and within the class we watched several wonderful films, including of each from the multitude of Zatoichi and Tora-san films, a beautiful film titled Furusato by Koyama Seijiro, a real tearjerker titled Okaasan, and Ichikawa Kon's beautiful rendition of Tanizaki Junichiro's The Makioka Sisters. However, I believe the film that truly stuck in my memory was Morita's Family game starring Matsuda Yusaku, father of Matsuda Ryuhei, and Itami Juzo, the brilliant actor and director who would later create such masterpieces as Tampopo and A Quiet Life.

Family Game opens by introducing the viewer to the Numata family, dad, mom, older brother Shinichi, and younger brother Shigeyuki. While Shinichi is a wonderful student having been accepted to a top high school which has a strong record getting its students into the top universities, younger brother Shigeyuki is much closer to the bottom, around 8th or 9th. While basically absent from the household, except when he comes home after work drunk, dad is concerned that his younger son won't get accepted into a top high school. Therefore he hires Yoshimoto, a tall, clean cut young man who attends a third-rate university. Many tutors have failed before the arrival of Yoshimoto, so dad offers him 10,000 yen per class rank Shigeyuki ascends. Therefore if Shigeyuki rises thirty ranks Yoshimoto will receive 300, 000 yen. Seems like a good deal, yes? Well, Shigeyuki is not quite willing to cooperate. With his non-confrontational mother who prefers leaving bigger decisions to her husband or others, Shigeyuki is used to getting his way, so when he is told to write the words he does know in Basho's Narrow Road to the North, he pulls a stunt in which he writes "twilight," 夕暮れ, over and over again. When Yoshimoto sees page after page of "twilight" he then proceeds to slap Shigeyuki hard enough to bloody the boy's nose, and warns him that if he tries to pull anymore stunts like that again he will be hit, and Yoshimoto is not one to pull his punches. Yoshimoto informs Shigeyuki's mother that the reason the boy's nose bled was that he got a bit over-excited, but although it is never directly stated she is of course worried, but dad thinks the end justifies the means, so the tutoring continues. With an absent father and a gentle milksop for a mother, Shigeyuki actually does become closer to his tutor and his grades do actually rise, but it is not through actual academic assistance, Yoshimoto normally looks at books about plants during their tutoring sessions, but the closeness and discipline Yoshimoto offers helps the boy. However, should Yoshimoto really be the one providing such a foundation? Family Game is completely dominated by the presence of Matsuda Yusaku. With his large size he almost fills the apartment of the Numatas' which is almost at bursting point with its four family members. However, it is his aggressiveness that really takes the stage. With no sense of personal space, Yoshimoto gets as close as he possibly can to Shigeyuki and often touches him as well, including one part of the film in which Shigeyuki is dressed only in his briefs. This scene doesn't have any sexual undertones in my opinion, but it is again another example of the magnitude of Yoshimoto's presence. Yoshimoto does other things to excess also, including drinking all of his beverages, often noisily, in on breath. While it is not too popular in the Western world, although it pops up quite often in film classes, Family Game is a pretty amazing film that should be seen just for the film's last ten minutes, but should be seen by those who not only enjoy Japanese films, but films in general.

Reviewed by onodoken 10 / 10

Interesting! Playful! One of my TOP 5 Japanese Movies!

This little film deals with, basically, a young, male Japanese teen who has seemed to just quit attempting to do well in school for one reason or another. I know what your thinking, "That's it." This movie actually deals with the relationship the young teen and his "tutor" have. Now, if you do not know anything about the Japanese society, I would suggest reading up on it a bit, especially dealing with the school system. But for those of you who do not have the time, it basically comes down to this . . . .males MUST do well in junior high, in order to get into a good high school, which in turn is the hardest type of schooling on the face of the earth. If they are lucky to finish and not collapse under the pressure, they eventually go on to college which is the easiest stretch of time they will ever encounter. But this is not all, there a lot of suttle points to admire here, but there are just too many to mention. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for a light, but witty comedy. Also watch, "Tampopo", "A Taxing Woman", "Minbo no onna", "Hana-bi", "Kids Return", and "Adrenaline Drive." You will not be disappointed!

Reviewed by whatdoes1know 7 / 10

full of ideas, and very dreamlike... slapping you out of nowhere now and then.

It was fun to watch the creativity put in this movie, and the tensions between the characters build up. The tutor, as imprevisible as the weather, is a major source of fun--especially in the typically anally retentive Japanese family context. I really liked how they craftily managed to plant a pretty obscene line in an argument over breakfast--it's a pun, so ask your neighborhood translator to watch the argument scene with you. The provision of laughter is disconcertingly random, so you either like it or not. I gave this a seven.

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