“The Ramen Girl” (2008)
Much that is wrong with the modern American cinema is not the limited to the widespread gravitation toward an increasingly youthful demographic and the immature cultural curiosity to which it is gleefully and voluntarily mired, nor the industry reliance on recycling past successes with remakes featuring newly minted though woefully insufficient faces who fail to grasp the significance of appreciable screen presence, but what is alarmingly present in many, especially commercial populist variety, of the newer Hollywood features is a reliance on the memory of cinema as opposed to drawing from experience in something called “life” (and this will include the once vaunted but now homogenized “independent” splinter of the American filmmaking community, whose rebellious creative ideology has been sadly subsumed by the cheap allure of the attainment of an undeserved status within a “counterculture” by way of, or worse, being screened at any one of the myriad of film festivals which have uselessly proliferated like fleas on a feral cat since the implementation and premature canonization of the Sundance Film Festival.
Abby (Brittany Murphy) is a young American who, almost immediately upon arriving in Tokyo, is abandoned by her callow boyfriend, sending her into a brief emotional funk highlighted by sudden flares of hallucinatory portents. During a particularly vulnerable evening, she visits a local ramen shop and pours out her heart to the proprietor/chef Maezumi (Toshiyuki Nishida) and his wife Reiko (Kimiko Yo), both concerned and puzzled by this sudden outburst since neither speaks English. Abby is appreciative of their kindness and the ramen soup, and in due course is seized by a new career calling, cajoling Maezumi into becoming her ramen sensei.
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