Rail Truck (トロッコ / 軌道) | WAKUWAKU JAPAN Movie Review

Elle and I recently watched this Japanese movie at WAKUWAKU JAPAN TV Channel (#168). It is a family drama called Rail Truck (トロッコ / 軌道).

Yumiko Yano, with sons Atsushi and Toki, travels from her home in Tokyo with the ashes of her late husband to his parents’ home, a mountain village in the south of Taiwan. Having been raised in the big city, the boys are wide-eyed at the verdant rural scenery…and waiting for them is a Taiwanese grandfather who speaks Japanese.
Yumiko, who married against her parents’ wishes, has struggled on in stubborn determination since his death. Her son Atsushi, strongly conscious that in ethnocentric Japan he is ‘different’, is in a state of rebellion against both the society in which he has grown up and his mother. In the verdant rural home of his grandparents, who have lived through vast changes in the political landscape and the values that prevail in society, the family rediscovers the bonds that unite it.
Setting out on a journey aboard an old-fashioned hand-powered ‘rail truck’, Atsushi discovers a world outside of his family and his school, and is forced to confront the question of what it means to be both an ‘elder brother’ and a ‘son’.
Heartwarming as a family drama should be, this movie remind us to our late grandfather. (TᴗT) The grandfather figure in this movie is a disciplined yet loving man, and so our grandfather was. Nostalgia aside, Rail Truck displays the contrast between an urban city life and a modest village life, similarities and differences between Japanese and Taiwanese cultures, a bridge that connects them all, and the bravery to embrace yourself and choose your own path after knowing and making peace with life’s bittersweet facts.

The lush green mountain forest and the village that lives in it were beautifully captured, but unfortunately, the emotions in the film weren’t. There are several scenes that could have squeeze our tears out, but none were shed that night because…… something was just….. off. It might be Machiko Ono (Yumiko)’s rather emotionless face, the bond between the people that doesn’t feel quite right or something else but that’s that. It’s such a waste, though, because the plot is a rather good one and it could’ve been a more heartfelt and memorable movie.
We dig the scenes with the boys, though, because they remind us of our childhood. Atsushi (Kento Harada) resembles Jess as a curious, rebellious, protective and choleric (leading) elder brother. The little brother Toki (Kyoichi Omae) resembles Elle’s childhood persona, which is an easygoing, happy-go-lucky naive crybaby lol. (≧▽≦)づ♡

Directed by Hirofumi Kawaguchi and based on Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s 1922 short story, Rail Truck is a rather fine movie which teaches us to respect the elders, protect and love our family, and above all, embrace ourselves despite being ‘different’ and be grateful for the choices we have made.
Thank you, WAKUWAKU JAPAN TV for bringing this movie up. We can’t wait to watch another ones! 😀
Jessica Yamada
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