ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

KSL Movie Show Review: ‘Perfect Days’ is an exceptional effort

Feb 23, 2024, 7:00 AM | Updated: Feb 24, 2024, 8:53 am

KSL Movie Show Review of "Perfect Days." This is one of those “art house films” that mainstream...

This is one of those “art house films” that mainstream audiences can’t understand why anyone would want to sit through a two-hour movie where a simple man cleans toilets for a living and rarely speaks.  How on Earth is that even remotely entertaining? I’ll try to explain why. 

SALT LAKE CITY — “Perfect Days” is one of those “art house films” that mainstream audiences can’t understand why anyone would want to sit through. It’s a two-hour movie where a simple man cleans toilets for a living and rarely speaks.  How on Earth is that even remotely entertaining?

I’ll try to explain. 

Perfect days include plants, books, toilets

Hirayama (Kôji Yakusho) is a quiet man who lives alone in a small Tokyo apartment, along with his various plants and his extraordinary collection of books and music.  His daily routine is fastidious and exact in every way.  Usually beginning with an appreciative look toward the sky as he buys his daily coffee from a vending machine and gets into his small panel truck to begin his work day. 

He’s assigned along with another young man Takashi (Tokio Emoto) to maintain the public toilets throughout Tokyo.

And before you get all grossed out, the public toilets in Tokyo are state-of-the-art in every way (at least the ones in this film). They have bidets, glass doors that turn opaque once closed — and amenities that you can’t even imagine. 

They’re incredible and the locals treat these restrooms with the utmost respect, as does Hirayama.  Takashi not so much, but he’s young and in love, so is less enthused about dignifying these tasks. 

Perfect days include music

One of the highlights of his day is selecting a cassette tape to play in his panel truck. Surprisingly, his taste in music is 70’s and 80’s American and British classics. And he is just as overjoyed as we are in his sophisticated palette. 

In fact, the last shot in the movie is Hirayama going through an entire range of emotions as he fully appreciates his latest musical choice.  It is a master class in acting and he’s just as engaging no matter what he’s doing. 

The guy just oozes class and cool, to the point where you begin to wonder, why can’t I be like this guy, embracing all life has to offer, despite his meager surroundings?

The secret to enjoying life

In essence, he has discovered the secret to enjoying life and that’s what’s so intriguing about this film.  And apparently, the Academy Awards people agree. Not only is “Perfect Days” Japan’s entry in the Best International Feature Film category, but it made the final cut and is an actual nominee. 

It most likely won’t win, since “The Zone of Interest” is the odds-on favorite, but it is an exceptional effort. 

Most of the time, audiences want a bit more action and drama, but I was in the perfect mood for this movie and just let it wash over me with its grace and believe it not, its beauty.

I can’t recommend “Perfect Days” for ALL audiences, but if you give it a chance and prepare for its sweetness, subtlety, and precision, I think you’ll find the simple rewards you are looking for. 

PERFECT DAYS A-  Rated PG for some language, partial nudity and smoking. Starring Kôji Yakusho, Tokio Emoto, Arisa Nakano, Yuriko Kawasaki and Min Tanaka. Co-written and directed by Wim Wenders (“Buena Vista Social Club” “Wings of Desire”) – filmed in Tokyo, Japan. In Japanese with English subtitles. Running time: 123 minutes. 

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.

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KSL Movie Show Review: ‘Perfect Days’ is an exceptional effort