Sundance Film Festival review: “Lu Over the Wall” a sweet, surreal myth


by Jenniffer Wardell

Suggested for children 11 and older

Written by Reiko Yoshida and Masaaki Yuasa

Directed by Masaaki Yuasa

Starring Christine Marie Cabanos, Michael Sinterniklaas, Stephanie Sheh and more

Grade: Three stars

 

Anime can be its own cinematic world, but there are rewards if you dive into it.

One of those rewards is “Lu Over the Wall,” which premiered its English-language dub at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. This mythic, slightly offbeat but ultimately sweet story of a depressed young man and his mermaid friend is like nothing else you’ll see at the movies.

The plot focuses on Kai, a young man who lives in a small fishing village with his father and grandfather after his parents separate. He secretly composes music on his laptop and mostly wants to be left alone, but an impromptu offer from some schoolmates to join their band eventually lead him to discover that a mermaid likes his music as well. Though he finds his zest for life returning as the two become friends, danger also rises as the town becomes more involved as well.

“Lu Over the Wall” is a wonderfully big-hearted film, a celebration of music, life, dancing and friendship that’s sure to warm audiences. Lu herself is charming, an impish child-like creature with big teeth who is both very lovable and definitely not human. Though the movie’s mythic qualities sometimes make it a little difficult to follow, and some of the supporting characters border on the absurd, the message of acceptance and love makes the movie ultimately worth it.

 

(Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

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