A story about an inflatable sex doll that comes to life and tries to make sense of the new and often very sad human world around her, Air Doll is a Japanese feature film that will be opening this weekend in San Francisco and Berkeley. The trailer is available on YouTube.
When I first read the synopsis of the film, I thought it was going to be funny and of course it reminded me of Mannequin, the 1987 classic featuring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall. However, I quickly realized that Air Doll is not a comedy. The press release calls it, “a magical meditation on what it means to be human.” I call it a look into the sad and lonely world of Japan and Japanese society from the point of view of a true outsider (the sex doll.)
The opening sex scene between the lonely waiter and his sex doll is unforgettable and cringe worthy, in that good way you expect from all Japanese cinema. On a personal note, if I were friendless, depressed, pathetic, and had no life and no chance with a real woman, a sex doll wouldn’t be that bad. I mean, it’s better than being by yourself, right? And who knows, it might come to life and look like the beautiful Korean star Bae Du-na (The Host).
I would recommend this film to people who are looking for something different. It’s not your typical Hollywood movie, and that’s a good thing in this case. Do note that it does drag in parts — and stretches the concept of “willing suspension of disbelief” to it’s breaking point — but it is worth staying till the end. The end will surprise you. Trust me.