This is without doubt one of the finest movies of any kind I have ever seen. It's an incredibly moving story of a woman pianist who lost her hearing in one ear due to an accident, a young male pianist who is not living up to his potential, and how they meet in heaven.
It's also the story of the lives of a variety of other people and how every thread comes together in the end in a wonderfully moving fashion. This is an absolute must-see film, beautiful in every single way.
Additional material on the movie
Kenta, the pianist. Later, after the performance, he gets fired.
After going out to eat he falls asleep and wakes up somewhere he's not familiar with.
Apparently, he's in some kind of really neat-looking library.
Definitely some Egyptian elements in the architecture.
He asks where he is and the guy with the hat says heaven. The guy was also in the fast-food type place where Kenta fell asleep. The guy's name is Yamaki.
The woman's name is Yui.
Yamanki explains that if someone dies before they are 100 years old they will stay in heaven until they reach 100, and then they will be reborn. Kenta is told he will have a temporary job, but he won't be paid for it.
He leaves the building and goes outside.
He meets a guy named Satoshi.
Kenta walks away from the guy (who is dead).
He stops in a restaurant.
She explains people appear as the age they die. Whether or not they mature internally is up to them. She says you're not allowed to meet people you were close to because otherwise people would die just to be with their lovers.
A woman returns a book. She wants is read aloud and Yamaki (who is the boss) tells Kenta to do it.
Remember, I do the synopsis as I'm watching the movie, so sometimes it takes time for things to make sense, as in this section where, suddenly, we are in a house where the two women are talking about a woman named Shoko, who is apparently dead, who played the piano. ( Shoko is the woman in heaven who wanted the book read.)
This group is talking about fireworks the city has had in the past.
The older guy talks about how wonderful the fireworks were when they were done, which was ten years ago.
Kenta goes to return the book to Shoko that she had him read the day before.
He knows who she is. He attended a concert of hers when he was a kid.
She asks him to play the piano.
He plays a bit of what she gave him to play and then he improvises. (That house is beautiful!)
She invites him back. She told he she hasn't played since she came to Heaven. She had been working on a suite but never finished it.
Yamaki tells Kenta that Yui is in some kind of rehabilitation. It's possible she had committed suicide. (She also seems to have a thing for Kenta but, as is usual, he's clueless.)
Some baked goods are delivered to a guy who used to do firework shows.
There is one type of fireworks they want in the last part of the show but the guy tells them they can't have them because only one guy knew how to make them and he quit. The guy tells them that there was an explosion in the workshop and someone the master craftsman had caused it.
Then go to see Takimoto, the craftsman, but he lives in a ramshackle building.
He tells them he doesn't do fireworks any more.
Kenta is playing a song of hers but suddenly Shoko has severe pain in her ear. She tells him about the fireworks explosion and what happened to her.
Yui says she killed her brother. She explains what happened ( and she didn't actually kill him herself; he was following her and got hit by a truck.) She was going to kill herself by jumping from a building, but Yamaki brought her to heaven before she could jump.
Everything gets tied in really quick. The woman explains that Takimoto, the fireworks maker who quit, had brought his girlfriend to the shop, and it turns out she was Shoko. He was showing her some powders when they ignited and her ear was hurt. (They haven't said what Shoko actually died from yet, but it certainly wasn't from the damage to her ear.)
Shoko talks to Kenta about her boyfriend, Takimoto. She explains how she would watch his fireworks and compose music. She wanted to do ten parts, but there was never a tenth show since he quit after her injury.
He plays what little she had written for the tenth part and she listens and offers suggestions.
The girl, who is Shoko's niece, finds out that it was Shoko's parents who refused to let Shoko and Takimoto marry after the accident. She then goes to confront Takimoto yet again. They get really mad. He slaps her and she slaps him right back. (Oddly enough, he claims Shoko told him to stop making fireworks and that she wouldn't marry him which sort of contradicts some other stuff said so far).
Kenta reads a book to a young boy.
The young boy turns out to be the little brother that died when chasing Yui.
Yui is going to return to Earth (since she is not dead.) The car with her in it vanishes. Yamaki tells Kenta that his job there will be done soon.
Yui is returned to the place where she was going to jump.
He tells her he wants to finish the song with her while he is still in Heaven.
Kenta and Shoko finish the song and later Yamaki tells Kenta that it's his last day in heaven.
Shoko and Kenta say goodbye.
The fireworks festival gets under way.
Yamaki is there running a food stall.
Kenta wakes up at the fireworks festival.
They've announced the end of the show but suddenly the fireworks she hoped for start up.
Shoko is able to see them in heaven.
Shoko plays the piano for the first time since she came to heaven.
On Earth, Kenta is playing at the same time.
The bookstore fills with people as Shoko plays.
She's able to hear Kenta's playing.
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