This movie is one of the most random things I’ve ever seen in my life – and I went through both a MySpace ~adorkable~ phase and an improv comedy phase.
Before watching Night is Short, Walk on Girl, I watched another movie by the same director, Masaaki Yuasa, called Ride Your Wave. I thought Ride Your Wave was sweet and breezy, but nothing to write home about. After watching it, I came across a review that said something along the lines of, “it was too normal compared to the director’s other movies,” which left me intrigued. I decided to watch Night is Short, Walk on Girl because it was the only other movie by this director available on HBO Max.
I was initially hesitant to watch it because, as the trailer above implies, drinking, especially Japan’s sometimes-intense drinking culture, is a big part of the movie. I’ve been wrestling a lot with my relationship with alcohol over the past year and, because of this, I’ve tended to shy away from media that glorifies drinking. However, I was happy to learn while watching that it didn’t “glorify” drinking that much, and was only really a big part of the first third of the movie. Great!
I mention my relationship with alcohol because it has affected many of my interpersonal relationships (for better or for worse), and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that, beneath all of its randomness, Night is Short, Walk on Girl is really about how we are all connected to each other. While watching the movie, I thought it was just coincidence – for example, “Wow! The unrequited love guy is pining after the bride from the wedding scene!” However, as the movie played on, I realized that this was all by design.
We’re all bit players in each other’s movies! You may think you’re unimportant, but you also might not even realize the role you play in someone else’s life! Everyone has their own motivations, and they may not always match up with yours! People do unexpected things, and they affect other people in unexpected ways!
Sweeping existential themes aside, I just loved this movie’s humor. It was frantic and chaotic and had so many characters and storylines. There was a fact-filled, serious soliloquy about the interconnectedness of literature and an outrageous spicy soup eating competition – within minutes of each other, in the same place, but with little overlap with each other! Still part of a continuous storyline! How!
The wildest thing was that, despite its volatility, it also had everything tied up and together by the end. As strange as a random throwaway line or outfit choice was, as the story progressed, I was able to pick out clever little nuggets of foreshadowing or ultimately meaningless and absurd, yet well-chosen, callbacks.
Though the movie definitely slowed down at the end, I still enjoyed the journey enough to give this movie a strong recommendation. The art is beautiful, the story is silly, and the characters are eccentric – and the journey overall is a strange romp with a surprisingly touching ending. I’ll be thinking about this movie for a long time, for sure.