Tokyo Godfathers – A Christmas Miracle

This is a movie one should watch every Christmas. A man, a woman and a teenager finds an abandoned baby girl in a pile of garbage on Christmas Eve. That is the beginning of this tale.

They are all homeless, for different reasons, but they stick together. They help each other and take care of each other. So, when they find the baby girl, who they name Kiyoko, they naturally help out with her all three. Well, after a few arguments on wether or not they should keep her or hand her over to the police. Here’s the deal. Hana, the woman in the group, has always longed to be a mother and have a family but it is impossible. Not only because she is homeless but because she is a transexual woman and thus born as a man. This is something Gin, the middle aged man of the group often points out. Not out of spite though but there is a lot of fag and homo and such name calling. Hana doesn’t seem to mind though, she takes it like a woman and gives back tenfold. Because that’s how they are.

So, Hana wants to keep the baby while Gin and Miyuki, the teenage runaway, thinks it’s best if they just give her to the police straight away. After some discussions they compromise and decides to keep the baby for the night. The next morning though, Hana is gone with baby Kiyoko and the hunt begins. Well, first Gin and Kiyoko has to find Hana and then they decide, all three, that maybe it is better to search for Kiyoko’s parents instead of giving her to the police. There was a note and some keys to a locker at the train station in the baby’s bassinet in which they get clues as to who they might be.

Stuff happens a long the way while they are out searching for the parents. There is of course a twist. Lies are being told. What’s most interesting with this story though is to follow the three main characters struggle as homeless people. One scene is on a train where people all hold their noses because of our main characters smell bad. We all recognise it I think. If you have ever been on a bus or a train with a homeless person, a real bum like Gin, you know how bad they can smell. It isn’t pleasant. But still, it is heartbreaking to see just how openly people show their disgust towards mainly Gin at that moment. Or how Hana constantly are referred to as a man even though she dresses like a woman and refer to her self as one. Yes, she is tall, have big feet (they make a thing of it in the movie) and have very male features, but still, people can be so very mean and condescending and it is shown so well. Even in the end scene she points it out, in her lighthearted way when she says that she is offended that she is in the men’s ward and not the woman’s ditto.

Gin is probably they archetype of a person who ends up on the street. A drunk gambler with a huge debt to some shady loan shark. A bum who has give up and is prepared to die any given moment but still finds something worth living for, mainly a bottle of booze on a graveyard, everyday. Gin actually lives for Miyuki, seeing his own daughter in her. A daughter he lost years ago.

Miyuki is a runaway who is too afraid to go home after having done something really stupid and, as I understand it, on an impulse for something a teenager would see as huge while a parent would see as a minor thing. She has enormous feelings of guilt because of this. She wouldn’t survive very long, if even a day, on the streets if it weren’t for Gin and Hana.

Hana is an obnoxious darling. At times it feels like she overplays the part of a drag queen in disguise of a transexual woman. What do you mean by that, you might ask. What I mean is, she is too dramatic at times, playing out all the emotions at once. It’s a bit too stereotypical for how people think of a transexual woman. You say transexual woman and you think people immediately think drag. Well, most people know that’s not true but Hana can be like that sometimes. And, it might have an explanation; she used to do drag in her youth. She worked at a club performing in drag but after a minor incident she fled and felt that she couldn’t come back again, ashamed of what she had done, and that’s how she ended up on the streets. Very few people want to employ a trans woman and it is very clear that a lot of people don’t really understand this “He’s a man but wait, he’s a she…uhm? What? Woman?” thing.

The hunt for the parents in itself is a pretty funny story. So much is happening and the little baby is somehow saving the day many times. Hana is often referring to her as an angel and one might wonder if it isn’t so. Ambulances and cars are crashing left and right right behind them or after they have just left a place, they meet yakuza bosses who invites them to parties, they meet people in unexpected places, see newspapers with little messages on them and so on. It can’t all be coincidences. It has to do with the baby, yeah?

It’s a thought worthy and funny film, fitting for one of the days between Christmas and New Years Eve. Or just on a hot summers day. I say, watch it!

5 thoughts on “Tokyo Godfathers – A Christmas Miracle

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