For a school assignment, I need to write an essay comparing the novel Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami to a film with a similar theme.

Over the course of the novel, the main character is torn with sadness, feeling responsible for his love of a girl which is now in a mental hospital, the suicide of an old friend, and the uncomfortability of growing into adulthood. The novel focuses mainly on its characters' thoughts and feelings due to past events (usually ones of sadness, a lust for another's warmth, or loneliness) rather than the events themselves.

In fact, almost all of the characters in the novel have some sort of life event which causes them to be haunted with sorrow for many years (for example, the suicide of a loved one), and each of them handle this emotion differently, either isolating themselves, ignoring them, or trying to face them. This is the theme I want to use as the point of comparison in my essay, how people handle their sadness, but I can't seem to find a corresponding film.

I've never really been into watching too many movies, I've been spending hours looking for a corresponding movie (that's not the official live action film) with no avail.

Is there any movie concentrating on the described themes?

  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about movie recommendations.
    – JohnP
    Commented May 2, 2014 at 4:28
  • 1
    The question asker isn't shy about his intentions but I think the nut of the question is okay. Maybe needs some rephrasing like "Norwegian Wood is about X ... What other films closely match these themes?"
    – rbsite
    Commented May 2, 2014 at 4:58
  • Hard to say, I'll rather give it a try, seeing that it might be on the unbroad and objective side of recommednation questions and provides some good explanations.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented May 3, 2014 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


Tony Takitani (Japan, 2004) is a good candidate as it's another Murakami adaptation that also deals with loss, sadness and loneliness, allowing for the most meaningful correlation. It's even from the same era (written in 1990, three years after NW).

Normally I'd suggest films based on other authors who influenced Murakami, but your description brings to mind Samaritan Girl (South Korea, 2004) which hits all the notes of suicide, sadness, reflection, contrasting loneliness/isolation and physical intimacy, grappling with adulthood, and the ripple effect of suffering across multiple characters.

SG explores these themes in a protracted time and presents the events starkly, leaving emotional analysis to the viewer. This might be a bit too different for your liking. Since it's a Korean film I also worry about seeming to conflate cultures: Murakami has influenced and been influenced by many things, but Korean cinema is not one of them, so making a connection feels like it needs pre-discussion ("not just lumping all of Asia together", etc.). That said, I think it fits the bill.

If you have access to either of the above, give them a try.


The British series Black Mirror, created by Charlie Brooker, has an episode that intimately deals with grief and sorrow in an interesting way within a science fiction context. It is episode 1 from series 2, and it is called Be Right Back.

Being the immediate thing that came to mind regarding your question, Black mirror is an anthology series concerned with dystopian realities set within the not-too-distant future where the prominent subject is of humanity, behaviors, ideals and technology. In this episode, which with modern quality television production standards is more like a short, 1 hour film, the main character deals with loss in a very unusual way.

Even if it turns out to be irrelevant to your study, I highly recommend you watch this episode, and all other episodes of Black Mirror for that matter, as this series is one of the best things to come out of British television for a very long time.

Edit: If you live in Britain, you can watch it on "4 on demand" if not, I can point you in the right direction if you message me. Again, I highly recommend you watch it.

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