We abide Splenda instead of sugar, Wii instead of athletics, texts instead of conversations, and sometimes even fantasy dolls instead of real human contact. From director Hirokazo Koreeda, “Air Doll” is the Pinocchio-esque urban fairytale of an inflatable sex-doll come to life that examines the aching melancholy of living in a materialistic society that promotes quick-fix substitutions and disposability. The film stars Bae Doona, Arata and Itao Itsuji.
Based on a 20-page graphic novella by manga artist Yoshiie Gouda, “Air Doll” explores themes of loneliness, love and what it means to be human. Hideo (Itsuji) is a middle-aged waiter who is living a seemingly content and fulfilled life with Nozomi. The couple is very much a part of each other’s lives, eating together, having conversations and making love. The only thing is Nozomi is actually a blow-up fantasy doll. That is until one day, Nozumi magically develops a heart and morphs into a real woman (Doona). With child-like innocence, the newly humanized Nozomi toddles around her neighborhood imitating the vocalizations and behavior patterns of the people she meets until she lands herself a job at a local video store, where she falls in love with her co-worker, Junichi (Arata).
The trailer for “Air Doll” uses very little dialogue, relying instead on beautiful images that move like an ethereal kaleidoscope. Set to a haunting, dream-like score, the trailer rhythmically blinks from one instance of existential loneliness to another. Sitting next to an old man on a bench, a doe-eyed Nozumi tells him that she is empty inside, to which he responds, “These days, everybody is.” The trailer then evidences several gleaming moments of joy through togetherness. There is a shot of Junichi resuscitating Nozumi by blowing into her belly after she has been deflated while the voice-over of Nozumi recites the quotation, “Life contains its own absence, which only another can fulfill.”
Based on what is shown in the trailer, it appears that “Air Doll” has lofty aims as far as its thematic content is concerned. It remains to be seen, however, as to whether the full-length feature will be able to transcend superficial cookie-cutterness to really give “Air Doll” a pulse and achieve any weighty significance.
Below is the movie trailer for "Air Doll." What are your thoughts?