“I am what I am”: Knights in shining armor need not apply

After gaining critical acclaim as Hidetoshi Nishijima’s taciturn theater director driver in Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Oscar-winning drama “Drive My Car,” the world has been waiting to see what he would do next Toko Miura.

Now, she has her first leading role in Shinya Tamada’s “I Am What I Am,” the second installment of the “(Not) Heroine Movies” series produced by Nagoya Broadcasting and Dub Productions to buck the conventions of romantic drama. His new film is not up to Hamaguchi’s, but few contemporary Japanese films are. For one thing, it resorts to the kind of “Drive My Car” clichés it scrupulously avoids, including a concerned mother (Maki Sakai) comically trying to marry Miura’s 30-year-old call center operator. as fast as possible.

The film begins with that familiar scene: Two guys in an izakaya (Japanese pub) trying to chat up the operator, Kasumi, and her bubbly co-worker with obnoxious questions about their love lives. Uncomfortable, Kasumi takes off and eats alone at a ramen shop.

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