Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers ★★★½

Convenient coincidences in film are the cheapest way to advance a plot, but this uncommonly sincere, comic urban fable shamelessly embraces every eye-rolling act of serendipity that it can—and somehow succeeds. It’s a story of lost souls who all get to confront their pasts, one by one, in short order, as if ordained by a higher power or maybe just an unabashed screenwriter,. But the over-the-top suspension of disbelief required to stick with the story seems like a small price to pay for the humanity that is laid bare for us by director Satoshi Kon’s expert hand. At first I wondered why this story had to be animated; it does very little that's truly fantastical with its beautiful hand-drawn renderings. But the spritely energy of the principal characters—their exaggerated, slapsticky reactions—is essential to the way the heavy handedness of the plot machinations are made to feel somehow featherlight. A bit of a Christmas miracle, really.

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