Millennium Actress (2001) Anime Movie Review
How do you see your life? Does it have a rollercoaster experience muddled with positives and negatives that might seem endless? Do you feel certain parts of your life can be translated into a grand story you want to tell future generations?
Millennium Actress by Satoshi Kon may pale compared to his earlier work, Perfect Blue, but it still packs a punch in terms of story quality and enjoyability.
Television Interviewer, Genya Tachibana and his cameraman, Kyoji Ida, are set on a journey to interview Chiyoko Fujiwara, a well-known actress who disappeared during the height of her career. She lives in the countryside, far away from the bustling metro, and lives a content life. Genya handed over a key she had lost at the studio. This triggers nostalgia in the actress, and agreed to tell her story.
The scenes continuously shift when Chiyoko begins to tell her story. Her life is interwoven within her films. Tachibana and Ida appear in them and sometimes become part of the scenes. As a teenager, Chiyoko receives the key from an artist that fights against the Sino-Japanese War. She helped him escape after being chased by the authorities. She decided to become an actress, hoping that her popularity would let her meet him again. She participated in different genres of films and became famous. Although she never meets him again, she never loses hope.
There is no doubt this anime movie is one of a kind. It's a mixture of great storytelling and surrealism that makes it a memorable experience unlike any other.
Like Perfect Blue, this anime tackles the division between reality and fantasy. Satoshi Kon might have used that experience and integrated it with this classic. In his previous movie, he used it as a conflict to let the audience experience fear and mystery, while in Millennium Actress, he used it to have a feeling of excitement.
To top it all off, the brilliant inclusion of a musical score by Susumu Hirasawa makes it seem like the life journey of Chiyoko is ours as well.
Millenium Actress is not just a typical Sunday movie. It is a collection of artworks integrated into one motion picture that lets the audience feel life's journey. Maybe after you watch this, you might want to have a bit of a nostalgia moment of yourself. You might want to look back at your life and think about what makes you feel satisfied. Maybe just like Chiyoko, you don't have to reach the ultimate goal, but trying to achieve it is already satisfying.
A genuinely deserving 4.5 out of 5 stars.