Kamikaze Girls (2004)
dir. Tetsuya Nakashima
Kyoko Fukada (Ring 2, Japanese version, 1999)
What do you call that genre where a realistic storyline is infused with elements of surrealism? Not like Pan's Labyrinth, which was overtly fantastic, not even like Like Water for Chocolate, which is, of course, magical realism. I mean like real-life but just infused with a little bit more imagination. That's what Kamikaze Girls was like.
It's a buddy movie about a sweet Lolita-type girl (Momoko) who is way overdressed for her rural Japanese town. She doesn't have any friends and she doesn't care about family and just likes to dress up and go shopping. She gets tossed together with Ichiko, a yanki-type biker chick. Both girls are way overdevoted to their style-identity, but the twist is that it ends up being Ichiko who is playing a part to fit in, Momoko is alienated, but at least she's true to herself.
This is some quality storytelling right here. It's not melodramatic except where it's supposed to be, and the two female leads are true to their characters without hitting you over the head (OH I GET IT SHE HAS INNER VULNERABILITY OK). Ichiko is particularly well-performed, the kind of girl you sometimes meet who's a little to cool to be natural. Momoko gets a little bit of guts in the end, and learns the importance of friendship. There's a little bit of bloodshed, but it's cool.
Celia and Julianne- you two should totally watch this, but separately, because you don't know each other. Or together, that would be a different kind of awesome.