Editor’s Pick in Film – Restless

Film Review: Restless

Cast & Credits

Directed by Gus Van Sant; written by Jason Lew; music by Danny Elfan; with Henry Hopper, Mia Wasikowska, Ryo Kase, Shuyler Fisk and Jane Adams. Rated PG-13 for thematic and sensual elements. Running time: 91 minutes

This unconventional film from Gus Van Sant (which will not take fans of the filmmaker by surprise) chronicles the friendship and subsequent relationship between terminally ill cancer patient, Annabel (Mia Wasikowska) and Enoch (Henry Hopper), a morbid teenager who talks to a WWII ghost Hiroshi (Ryo Kase).

Well received at Cannes, Wasikowska steals the show as a tender, almost saintly young woman who intends to cherish her last days and maybe fall in love. The chemistry and relationship between the two principal characters drives the story forward and in what is now typical Hollywood, Annabel draws Enoch out from his shell which is motivated by a deep sadness and grief of its own.

The film forces viewers to wonder at the believability of Enoch’s relationship with Kase’s Takahashi, whether the ghost is ‘real’ or an imagined coping mechanism for Enoch who lost his parents in an accident where he survived. While it is Enoch’s journey that is meant to serve as the film’s principal sole anchor, it is Annabel who, much like she does for Enoch, gives the film its much needed lightness despite the darkness her absence represents.

Restless is produced by Bryce Dallas Howard in a role that forced Wasikowska to cut her hair into a short crop believable for a cancer patient.

The film’s end is a foregone conclusion but is heart-breaking nonetheless. Recommended viewing with a box of tissues.