a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Leonie / レオニー

with 5 comments

Leonie follows the story of Leonie Gilmour, mother of sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Though the details of her life are lost to history, director Hisako Matsui, speculates as to Leonie’s character, motivations and unfulfilled life. Beautifully shot, with wonderful period design and costumes, Leonie falls somewhat flat in casting choices, a somewhat facile feminism, stilted dialogue and ultimately a central character who is hard headed, but not particularly dynamic as person. The film starts with Leonie (Emily Mortimer) as a young woman, brash and full of vinegar. After meeting poet Yone Noguchi (Shidou Nakamura), bearing his child, following him to Japan, finding out he is married, struggling for years without learning a word of Japanese, sending her son to an uncertain future in the USA, returning and dying soon after Noguchi’s first exhibition, all one is left with is a portrait of a battered spirit and the continued calcification of her heart. Her sad story is even further trivialized by the rationale of her spirit living through the work of her son. She deserved more.

Originally published in EL Magazine, December 2010


Written by Nicholas Vroman

November 30, 2010 at 12:17 am

5 Responses

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  1. Does anyone know when this film will be released in the USA? My favorite actor/singer Masatoshi Nakamura has a part in it and I would really like to see it.

    For those who have seen it, can anyone tell me anything about his role in it?


    January 25, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    • My guess is that Leonie will have a rocky road being distributed in the USA. Don’t count on on.

      Nicholas Vroman

      January 25, 2011 at 11:43 pm

  2. My grandson plays the part of the newborn baby. Can anyone tell me where I can see this movie, or get a copy of it?


    January 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm

  3. FYI (esp. Sally),

    Although it is already in past tense, this screening event was big success:


    Director Hisako Matsui mentioned that she had to shorten the length by 30 minutes for the international version. That should mean they are ready for the U.S. market! : )


    August 13, 2012 at 4:45 am

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