Midnight Diner (2015) | Director: Joji Matsuoka | Screenwriter: Yaro Abe (manga), Katsuhiko Manabe, Joji Matsuoka | Cast: Kaoru Kobayashi, Mansaku Fuwa, Tamae Ando | 120 min
To start off, I probably am an avid fan of Midnight Diner. I truly loved the manga. I also loved the TV series. For me, this movie is no exception.
I love the atmosphere the movie gave: like you’re in some gathering where you feel intimate enough to talk about life choices, but with enough space to not be intrusive, with the music so soothing and put in the right moments, the pictures scenic and static as if a calling to take some steam off your head. The combination of music choices and how the shots looked had successfully made the movie felt melancholic and nostalgic.
The movie started with a mysterious urn whose owner and who left it was unknown. The movie then divided into three parts, each titled with the food that represented its part; Napolitan, Yam Rice, and Curry Rice. Napolitan was about the mistress of a rich man then got involved with another Midnight Diner’s client who wasn’t rich; Yam Rice was about a homeless girl who did a dine and dash then returned to apologize and pay off her bill by working for Master; Curry Rice was about a widow chasing after an aid worker. After all three parts finished, it was then revealed whose urn it was, who left it, and the reason why it was left there in the diner.
My personal favorite would be the second part, Yam Rice. This part really made me emotionally involved with the homeless girl’s progress; I was proud of her and really sad to see her leave.
Other than the movie’s atmosphere, the characters really made me invested to Midnight Diner. They were all regular humans, with longings and worries, and somehow they could all made peace with their past and move on with their lives, with the help from simple dishes they treasured at some points in their lives, and of course, made by the Master. Master, with his less but impactful words, and his magnificently made the dishes, helped his clients. Despite that, he also had his own worries and flaws, which really made him human.
The pacing of this movie was not fast. In fact, it was rather slow. How they told the story was not one where they already knew everything. Instead, they told you bit by bit with all the knowledge they had at that moment straightforwardly. Imagine when you eavesdropping somebody who’s on a serious phone call and telling what you heard right then and there to your friends through text. Exactly like that and I enjoyed it a lot.
Midnight Diner is beautiful by how it’s so simple, so calming, and so content. A happy tear might have come out of my eyes when I watched this. Also, one more thing, the movie hits different when you watch it after midnight and before sunrise so I recommend watching at those hours, just like the working hours of the midnight diner!
Writer: Dihan Puspa
Editor: Melati Febriani