Saturday, 19 March 2016

Air Doll (4½ Stars)

How is it possible for me to fit in? There is only one Me, but there are millions of Others.

This is a very melancholy film, once we look past the rather controversial subject matter. The middle-aged businessman Hideo has bought himself an inflatable sex doll. He doesn't just use it for sex, it's also his companion. He calls the doll Nozomi, the name of his ex-wife who left him. He talks to it when he comes home from work, happy that it doesn't talk back, and he goes for walks with it by pushing it in a wheelchair. That's very sad.

One day Nozomi spontaneously becomes a real person. She can think and feel, and her body is no longer made of plastic, at least on the outside. On the inside she's still full of air.

She wanders around the city as naive as a young child, anxious to learn as much as she can. She takes a job in a video rental store while Hideo is at work, but when Hideo returns home she remains motionless, pretending that she's still a doll. Somehow he can't tell the difference. That's understandable. For months he has been fantasising that the doll is a real woman, so when it suddenly looks real he doesn't notice.

It's a story of human isolation that is very similar to Spike Jonze's "Her", though told differently. In a way Nozomi is the only real person in the film; the people around her are all hollow and empty.

I have to praise the actress Doona Bae for her performance a Nozomi. It must be some of the best acting I've ever seen. She very realistically portrays a doll pretending to be a human and only partially succeeding.

To me personally a sex doll is totally undesirable. It's difficult for me to understand any man wanting something like that. It's not that I think they're depraved, which is probably the opinion of many. They're now sold by respectable companies like Amazon. Click the picture above if you don't believe me. For me the problem is that even the expensive models that cost over £2000 aren't realistic enough. However well made they are they still look artificial. Even if a sex doll looked and felt real, it wouldn't be able to move and talk to me. Maybe when robot technology and artificial intelligence has progressed this will be possible, but the price will be so high that it will no longer be feasible.

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