Movie: Norwegian Wood

Of youth lost and growing old. 

Summary of Norwegian Wood (2010) (IMDB): Toru recalls his life in the 1960s, when his friend Kizuki killed himself and he grew close to Naoko, Kizuki's girlfriend, and another woman, the outgoing, lively Midori.

My two cents

I don't do movie reviews very often. In fact I only have one other movie review on this blog! But sometimes I get the urge to share a good flick, and this is one of them.

If you've been following Guiltless Reading, you already know I am huge Haruki Murakami fan. Last year I finally reviewed Murakami's Norwegian Wood (read my review here) and lo and behold, the movie is on Netflix. Of course I had to watch it.

I know I`ll let this "review" sit again and not go posted if I overthink it, so here goes:

Loved it:

  • It's pretty faithful to the novel, which is a relief. I hate it when a book is only inspiration and the movie takes a totally different track. Then I always end up thinking that movie makers should simply leave good books alone!
  • The ambiance is totally melancholy and rather depressing, which is what I got from the book too. 
  • The cinematography is quite stunning, especially with some vast landscapes. everything feels sparse and minimalist, with just beautiful beautiful imagery. Sigh.   
  • I picked up on something totally different in the movie: the theme that youth comes only once in one's life and that eventually we must all grow old.

I was iffy about:

  • One of the characters I fell in love with in the book was Reiko, Naoko's friend and roomie. Imagine my disappointment that she wasn't as fleshed out in the movie. A critical scene at the end really seemed off to me in the movie precisely because of the lack of Reiko's backstory! Oh well, I guess to accommodate everything else essential, something had to give. It's unfortunate that it had to be Reiko.
  • How could the movie not have the critical scene of the eulogy at the end ... the song Norwegian Wood was prominently missing.


While pretty faithful to the book, I'd highly recommend the movie. In of itself, it is a beautiful piece. However if you'd like to get the fulsome experience of Murakami's writing, definitely read the book in full. Enjoy both!

Check out the website for more about the movie.

Considering reading Norwegian Wood? Here's my review.

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall