Customer Review

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good citizens pay their taxes!,, June 24, 2008
This review is from: A Taxing Woman (DVD)
Itami Juzo is the Frank Capra of Japanese movies. His plots are always upbeat, the characters quirky, and the good guys always win. Like Capra, he wanted to show people a better way, to show Japan a world where corruption and evil could be brought down by a smiling and plucky woman who doesn't let anyone tell her what she can't do

"A Taxing Woman" ("Marusa no Onna") is his third film, following his masterpiece Tampopo, and is the first in a series of "-Woman" ("-no Onna") films staring his wife Nobuko Miyamoto as the smiling and plucky woman. In this film, she plays a tax collector, on a mission to bring the corrupt and shady businessmen of Japan into line, and get them paying their taxes. Her target is Hideki Gondo, an owner of a chain of Love Hotels who uses a complicated system of phony bank accounts to avoid registering his real income with the government.

Because this is an Itami film, Gondo (played by Tsutomu Yamazaki, also the cowboy Goro in "Tampopo") is not a bad man per se, but just someone out to take a bigger slice of the pie. He is unable to resist the charms of Nobuko, who takes him down smiling, and also patches things up between Gondo and his wayward son Taro. Nobuko is irresistible, and Itami found an amazing muse in his beautiful wife. Here, she is speckled with freckles to give her character a unique look, but her beaming smile and determination are impossible to hide.

However, make no mistake in thinking that "A Taxing Woman" is a G-Rated feel good film. In true Japanese style, Itami has no fear of sex or toilet humor, and plenty of both are on display here. The darker sides of life are not dumbed down, and the Yakuza are nasty people. But, stronger than their nastiness is Nobuko's goodness, and that is the message on display.

Itami is one of Japan's finest modern film makers, and his happy world is always lent a taint of sadness due to his own troubles and unhappy suicide. "A Taxing Woman" is among the best films of his short career, and the only one to merit a sequel, A Taxing Woman's Return ("Marusa no Onna II").
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 25, 2008 1:14:45 AM PDT
Daitokuji31 says:
great review. I really need to watch this one.

Posted on Jun 25, 2008 9:16:06 AM PDT
I am surprised you have never seen this Michael! All of Itami's flicks are good, but this is probably his most famous in Japan.

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 10:23:52 AM PDT
Tabbicat says:
I HOWLED all the way through this movie!! My boyfriend is Japanese, and he says things like this really happen all the time!
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Reviewer

Zack Davisson
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA

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