|Tenkôsei: Sayonara anata 2007 Japan Switching: Goodbye Me|
Switching - Goodbye Me is filled with beautiful cinematography that seems a pay grade above the level of film it's operating in. The acting is all very good, especially from the two teenagers gender-hopping as the leads, and the script is quirky smart. I was a little surprised by the very casual but to-the-point dialog about nuts and boobs and "body parts that change shape" when you touch them. Not because I don't think fifteen year olds talk about these things but because these two fifteen year olds are presented as something close to the epitome of innocence. That's the beauty of this film. It's somewhat skewed all the way through. Even the camera angles are all mostly from off the horizontal plane. And the typically Japanese ability to hurl fast-paced absurd dialog at you with a straight face makes for an odd yet peaceful roller-coaster ride.
The first hour of the film is pretty much comedy, turning a bit more dramatic for the second hour. The ending is a slow fizzle which attempts to wrap things up with an upbeat message when it really just rolls over and plays dead. But it doesn't matter. Unless you know for sure you don't like movies about teenagers, I highly recommend this film. It's a family film with a subversive yet sweet underbelly. Kids will get the weirdness and parents will never feel like things have gone too far. The characters are well-developed and likable and it's a very good looking film. A final shout out to both of the teenage actors. They do a remarkable job of channeling the opposite sex, mostly through body language and speech patterns. Switching - Goodbye Me should leave you smiling most of the way through.
Summary: This film is a remake by the director of his own 1982 film "I Are You, You Am Me".
After his parent's divorce, Kazuo Saito moves with his mother from Onomichi and must leave his girlfriend behind. At his new school, Kazuo is surprised to reunite with his childhood friend Kazumi. "Remember I kissed you, saying I'll marry you when we're grown ups?" He feels embarrassed around Kazumi, who talks about their early childhood stories without any reserve. Kazumi has a boyfriend named Hiroshi Yamamoto. Kazuo is annoyed with Hiroshi's attitude, but with Kazumi, they naturally start to get comfortable with each other again just like old times. Kazumi's family runs a long-standing soba noodle restaurant. Her very lively, Japanese family consists of her parents, her grandfather, and a very young niece. She has one older brother who lives away in Tokyo.
One day, Kazumi invites Kazuo to her house. After talking about old times, they walk to a place from their childhood called the "Lonely Watering Place". "Kazuo, the water here is very good. That's why our soba noodles also taste so good." Kazuni tries to scoop up some water with a dipper and the two accidentally fall into the water. They quickly crawl out, but suddenly realize that they have switched bodies! (In the following, Kazuo's mind inside Kazumi's body will be referred to as "KAZUO", and Kazumi's mind inside Kazuo's body will be referred to as "KAZUMI".) They go home, to the others family, who know nothing about the switch, but they seem rattled. Upset with the whole situation, the two both leave their homes. KAZUO says to sobbing KAZUMI, "For today, I'll have to play you and you'll have to play me."