a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Toilet / トイレット

with 5 comments

Quirkiness is director Naoko Ogigami’s stock in trade. With the mildly amusing Megane and Kamome Shokudou behind her, filling out her resume of deadpan characters in odd situations, she adds to her oeuvre with Toilet, a low-budget quickie following the foibles of a set of Japanese/Canadian siblings coming together after the death of their mother. Quirkiness abounds with cross-dressing agoraphobic musical savant little brother Maury (David Rendall), uptight older brother Ray (Alex House), mildly neurotic sister Lisa (Tatiana Maslanya) and Baachan (Masako Motai), the silent and wise font of displaced Japanese culture. Unfortunately, the contrived situations, the ever escalating plot diversions (the air guitar riff leads nowhere) and the all-too-neat resolutions in which each character comes to terms with their respective dilemmas make for a thoroughly clichéd though mercifully short 70 minutes. There are some moments of clever comedy, particularly in appreciation of the toilet, or more specifically, the washlet of the title. The moments, unfortunately don’t add up and Toilet’s droll attempt at meaningful comedy feels a bit constipated.

Published in EL Magazine, September 2010


Written by Nicholas Vroman

September 1, 2010 at 1:44 am

5 Responses

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  1. where can we see this movie online??


    September 22, 2010 at 5:25 am

    • m.derise, It’s just now being released in the theaters in Japan. I don’t know what their plans are for online release.

      Nicholas Vroman

      September 22, 2010 at 7:25 am

  2. Nicholas Vroman should refrain from attempting to “be a film critic”, looking at his website, he looks like a washed up looser, the audiences in Toronto and Italy are raving about this movie, I had the pleasure to see last night, Art in real pure form,
    what are those pictures of stuffed animals on a chain link fence exactly? artist…


    November 15, 2010 at 5:56 am

    • Hello leila,

      I don’t know if thanks is quite the right word for your comment on my review of Toilet, but I’m always up for a little discussion.

      I actually thought my review was somewhat benign. I liked parts of the movie, but as I wrote, I didn’t like the whole of it. And I must admit, I was trying to be a bit clever with my final line. Maybe I didn’t quite pull it off. Put simply, Toilet wasn’t my cup of tea. After all, we don’t all like the same movies.

      You mentioned that the film was a popular hit among folks in Toronto and Italy. Regarding film comedy, it’s always best in a roomful of appreciative film-goers. Laughter can be infectious. I, unfortunately saw the film in a basement screening room in Tokyo with a bunch of dour Japanese film critics. No doubt, that colored my take on the film.

      I’d love to hear what you really liked about the film and how it moved you.

      And it appears that you took a gander at my myspace site. Regarding the picture of the teddy bears on the chain link fence, it’s at the site of a Native American burial ground near Union Gap in Eastern Washington. It’s a place I find haunting, intriguing and ultimately moving. The tradition among the people of the Yakama Nation is to put the objects of their loved ones’ lives on the burial mounds and around the site of the cemetery. Those stuffed animals, I imagine, are placed as remembrances of children passed away.

      With kind regards,


      Nicholas Vroman

      November 16, 2010 at 5:49 am

  3. something like the little dolls women leave at the temples in Japan, that represent their aborted fetuses,(the stuffed animals) very interesting,
    I find the camera work lyric, and the playing with gender issues with the son suffering from PTSD and related agoraphobia(wearing skirts) interesting, Ray quirky and really drab look into reality the plight of any young professional, that does not fit in a society that moves so fast and furious and alienates anybody that does not buy into the hype, really attractive, the dynamics of the family quite alluring with a quality akin with the Royal Tanenbaums


    July 25, 2011 at 5:09 am

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