WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Best Bad Thing by Peter Rowe (Director)
Type: Great Depression, Historical Fiction, Japanese
Basic Plot: In the summer of 1935, Rinko is forced to work on Mrs. Hata’s cucumber farm. She is sure that it will be boring and weird, but she slowly learns to come to like Mrs. Hata and finds a cause to fight and work for.
Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The story was a good family movie. There was no romance, little action, and little cliché content, but the familiar lesson from the old movies of working together is seen. The plot moves at a good pace. The story moves slower than most plots do in more modern movies, but it was not too slow to be boring. Many parents may like the pace, not being action packed fast or moving like a sloth.
Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The main actors and actresses and most of the secondary ones were realistic and entertaining. The ones that were not as good were more minor and were still ok. The main actors and actresses kept an accent throughout the movie that sounded realistic, and the Japanese spoken was real. The children were realistic, having facial features and tones that are common to children of that age.
Costumes and Scenery: 3½/5 Above Average: The costumes were plain, common clothes of that era. They were not overdone, but were not eyesores either, making them realistic. The scenery was also realistic. Though the family was poor, there were enough things of the right quality that made it believable. None of the clothes or scenery looked fake or had the “movie gloss” that many movies have today, making it less fancy, but still a pleasure by being reasonably believable.
Music: 3/5 Average: There was some cliché oriental music, as well as silence. None of the music was especially memorable, but it was not an ear sore either.
Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The moral of the movie is seen in the title, that even things we think at the time are bad can be blessings for us and others. Rinko is embarrassed and horrified that she will have to work all summer for Mrs. Hata, but eventually finds it a pleasure to work there. Children naturally learn this as they grow older; that what they hate is good for themselves and others. A childish mindset is put aside as we learn what pain others go through, as Rinko’s selfishness starts to disappear as she learns more about Mrs. Hata’s family’s hard life.
Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: I recommend this movie in quality. I believe children thirteen and younger will like it best, though I believe parents may will enjoy watching it with their children.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: A girl takes a bath, but all that is shown is her leg up to her knee, her face, and her shoulders. A girl’s leg can be once seen a few inches up her nightgown when she gets up from her bed.
Violence: 1/5 Light Violence: Two men push each other in a fight, and a man is held on the ground. A man tries to punch another man, but is stopped from doing so. A girl smacks her brother with a towel a few times times. A boy throws cucumbers at a sign when he is angry. Children bump into each other twice.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Some Emotional Content and Injuries: A boy is shown with some blood on his face from a train accident, and other children get it on their face, clothes, and a handkerchief from helping him. He is later unconscious and seen bandaged on his head and arm. A girl sprains her ankle when she jumps off a train. A girl is told that if she misses her jump, she will die from impact with the train’s wheels. Two people that died in the past are mentioned, one having died of tuberculosis. A woman’s back is once mentioned to hurt. Characters tear up a few times from emotional things.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Once in the background, a movie poster with the words “Devil Dog” can be briefly seen.
Magic: 0/5 None
Others: Men smoke a cigarette and a pipe, about once or twice each. A girl once listens to music on a record with a jazz sound. Girls wear overalls.
Overall: 1/5 All Ages Appropriate: This movie impressed me morally. There was nothing really inappropriate, no gore, and the fight scene was something that most parents could approve of. I definitely recommend it for all ages.