Welcome to the Quiet Room (Quiet room ni yôkoso) (2007) • Japan

Welcome to the Quiet Room (Quiet room ni yôkoso)(2007) Movie Poster2007 marked the return to the big screen of ex-model, ex-singer, no longer ex-actress, drop dead gorgeous Yuki Uchida. Her first film in almost 10 years, Glory to the Filmmaker! was written and directed by Takeshi Kitano's (as Beat Takeshi), and in her next film, Welcome to the Quiet Room, her ex-husband is played by Shinya Tsukamoto. Seems like an odd pair for a photobook girl to be jamming with.

Having only this film to go on I can't really give her high marks as a thespian, but ... good lord, the woman's got Ivory Soap charm and the beauty to back it up. Welcome to the Quiet Room is not a good film ... but you can have a little fun with it. I believe Yuki Uchida is in every single scene. Problem is, she shares them with some obnoxious others. It's as if all the direction they got was "get loud and act stupid. You're in a film about a nuthouse." Uchida also plays the first third of the film with splashes of vomit in her hair and smeared on her face. Subtle, but distracting. And not to sound superficial or anything but I hope this woman has hair insurance. It's too bad that when she's styled up in million-dollar-messy she's the sweetest, sexiest looking thing on two legs—except for the puke accouterments. One of her inmate pals combs the stale upchuck from her hair and adds a couple thin braids off to each side causing her to lose a lot of sex appeal. I've never ogled hair so much.

Yûko Nakamura, from the fabulous film Strawberry Shortcakes, has a small role as the reasonable roommate. She's complicated though. Yû Aoi practically steals the show in a supporting role as a sexy bulimic guru of sorts—the one who has "figured out the system." Ryô is scary beautiful good as the head ward nurse and nemesis to all. And just so we have enough for basketball, Mai Takahashi rounds out the dream team of Japanese beauty in a small role as a lifer and musical genius with an eating disorder who's retreated into childlike behavior. Beyond that, the "get loud and act stupid" crowd gets too much screen time. If you're not put off by folks who confuse obnoxious with funny, give this one a visit. If you're looking to enhance your appreciation of fine Asian cinema you should wait a while for a Yuki Uchida fix. I have a feeling this woman is about to do something good.

Welcome to the Quiet Room is plagued with confused writing and bad direction. ***Here comes a spoiler*** It seems odd that such a lightweight film would end so, so ... unfriendly-ly. When Uchida is about to be released, all her "friends" who helped her find her true self again, through song and dance therapy, sign a big bon voyage card for her. Yû Aoi, her mysterious mentor, is the last to sign because plot recently had her get punched in the face by Uchida, and so we wait with baited breath to see if she is going to sign it or not. She does, and writes "Destroy this in one hour or die", presumably meaning "Once you're out of here destroy all connections to the place or you'll be Welcome to the Hotel California." When Uchida leaves she promptly deposits the card, and a beautiful gift she also received, in the trash can. She's still got contact info for her recently released reasonable roommate, played by Yûko Nakamura from the fabulous film Strawberry Shortcakes, the woman who lent her a brush and gave her chocolate and good advice. Maybe Yûko Nakamura dies or is on her way back in (which would be a great big "I told you so" from Yû Aoi), but the glee with which this last attachment is discarded seems selfish and mean.



  1. Even though you mentioned that it isn't a very good movie, you review nonetheless makes me go for a viewing. And since you say the actress is one of the most beautiful things on 2 feet, that sort of adds to my interest for the movie. ;)

  2. I may be guilty of a little hyperbole there ... :)

    It's not a horrible film, by any means, but I have a very low threshold to "Animal House" type humor. I just not a fan of loud and obnoxious and I think that style of humor polluted this film even though it makes sense in terms of character. She divorced a boring husband and then proclaims straight out "I like idiots!"

    btw - in case you read the review via a newsreader or something which doesn't show the clip at the end of the review, there is one that gives a preview of the beauty in question. It shows her after she's been cleaned up ... and I don't think she is as attractive in that mode.