Himitsu (2000)

Run Time - 119 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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Yojiro Takita directs this witty, understated comedy about the clash between generations and the different facets of love. Naoko (Kayako Kishimoto) and her 17-year-old daughter Monami are hospitalized after their bus plunges off the edge of a cliff. Just as Naoko is about to die, she manages to transfer her soul to her daughter's body so as not to be separated from her husband Heisuke (Kaoru Kobayashi). Once he catches on, the family structure more or less remains in tact: Heisuke still has a wife to talk to and Monami (inhabited by Naoko) still goes to school. Of course, sex becomes a ticklish issue. At one point in the film, Heisuke gently rebuffs his tipsy wife/daughter when she asks him to make love to her, while "Naoko" grows jealous when a young pretty teacher (Yuriko Ishida) flirts with her husband. Later, "Naoko" realizes that as her daughter, she has the opportunity to attain the goals she never could. Much to Heisuke's chagrin, Naoko studies for the college entrance exams with freakish intensity and manages to get into a top university. About the same time, "Naoko" realizes after reading a book on the matter that her grip on her daughter's body will soon weaken. One day, Monami awakens with no memory of her life while inhabited by her mother, though she feels somehow enriched by the experience. Japanese pop phenom Ryoko Hirosue delivers an astonishing performance as both Monami and as Naoko's spirit.