Action stories have long been the forte of Japanese creators. But what gets lost beneath them is the art of telling quiet, comforting tales. 

A new film, The Parades, has been released on Netflix, which falls in the second category. It is an intimate, emotional, and heartfelt film. 

The movie from Japan deals with magical realism, potentially achieving the ‘tearjerker’ tag, according to the official information on Netflix. 

Find out in my review if all these adjectives are actually the right fits for The Parades.

The Parades Synopsis

A tragic Tsunami leads to the untimely death of a woman, who then enters the afterlife and joins a bunch of lost souls, buried under the burden of their regrets. 

Image Credits: Netflix

Together, can they help a once-famous filmmaker finish his final masterpiece?

Directed by Michihito Fuji, the movie stars Masami Nagasawa (Minako), Kentaro Sakaguchi (Akira), Ryusei Yokohama (Shori), Lily Franky (Michael), Nana Mori (Nana), and others.

What Works for The Parades?

The first 10 minutes of the film are intriguingly depicted. You are instantly allured to stay on the screen with a mystical idea inviting your presence.

A woman dies in a high-frequency earthquake in Japan. She then finds herself in the alternate universe of the afterlife and becomes acquainted with other lost souls. All of them either have regrets or some unfinished business to complete. There begins the second innings of her life, which has tragedy and emotions at its center.

The characters, threads, and eventual overlapping of tales make the storyline convincing. The Parades stays grounded while successfully creating a believable world of spirits. 

No longer a part of reality, the characters in the movie are not given superpowers to play with. 

The film also brings an element of camaraderie and friendship to add strings to the narrative, which may have become redundant otherwise. 

This bonhomie makes it unique since the concept of ‘afterlife’ is not entirely new. 

Moreover, the movie’s emotional nucleus is crafted quite well though it is marred by woes. 

Still, the quiet and calm nature of The Parades is its backbone, entwined with an endearing set of short accounts. 

The makers don’t overdo the drama. They adjust nostalgia within the frame of an already mawkish plotline.

The cinematography is exceptional as it uses the perfect camera angles and lighting to capture the vulnerability of the characters.

The night scenes are exceptional while the bird’s eye view of waves is aesthetically presented. 

Overall, The Parades renders a melancholic drama with a placid and serene screenplay.

How are the Performances?

Masami Nagasawa as the main protagonist Minako brings subtleties to the film. She delivers a stupendous act without ever making it obvious.

Her mild reliance on expressions and complete focus on the spiritual acquisition of the character elevates Masami’s act.

Lily Franky plays Michael in The Parades. He has the most cheerful and inquisitive aura.

His rough demeanor combines with the actor’s impressive screen indulgence to give the audience a good time.

Kentaro Sakaguchi should have had a more quantifiable role in The Parades.

Still, he doesn’t miss the mark and plays to his abilities profoundly. His affable screen presence, composed charm, and natural instincts pack a punch.

What Doesn’t Work for The Parades?

Yes, the storyline is quiet, sober, and endearing, but it is not stirring enough to sustain the viewers. The film feels a lot more than 2h 12 minutes.

It lacks the compactness one would expect from such a theme. The movie’s approach is a bit pretentious, trying to force emotions upon the audience.

Such ideas need sentimental stimulation of the highest level to connect with people. The Parades fails in its attempts to do the same.

Things do not happen naturally and the flow has hindrances, unfortunately.

Image Credits: Netflix

Some of you might also find it slow but the problem isn’t pace, in my opinion. It is the lack of ample substance to complement the speed of narration. 

The idea of the afterlife is vast and highly subjective. There have been numerous onscreen presentations as well.

Therefore, after a great start, The Parades needed an equally succulent execution, which it failed to achieve.

Stream or Skip?

On the surface, it is a good movie but it lacks the in-depth connection you’d want to have with The Parades.

Hence, you can try it but if the first hour doesn’t suit your expectations, rethink about going forward. 

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