Cottontail parents guide

Cottontail Parent Guide

This is a quiet, gentle film that's told with a light touch.

Overall B-

Theaters: After his wife's death, Kenzaburo travels from Tokyo to England to fulfill her last request.

Release date July 12, 2024

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A-
Substance Use C

Why is Cottontail rated Not Rated? The MPAA rated Cottontail Not Rated

Run Time: 94 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Akiko (Tae Kimura) is the emotional center of Kenzaburo’s (Lily Franky) life. When she dies after an agonizing struggle with dementia, Akiko is unmoored. He drifts and drinks his way through his days, and pulls away from his grieving son, Toshi (Ryo Nishikodo). Then he receives a letter given by Akiko to a monk for safekeeping before dementia overwhelmed her. Akiko requests that her family take her ashes to Lake Windermere and scatter them there. But as Kenzaburo and Toshi’s family travel to England, old tensions flare, resentments simmer, and Kenzaburo’s guilt is an ever-present barrier between the two men.

Broken father and son relationships are a staple of cinema, and Cottontail covers no new ground. But at least it retreads this familiar territory with sincerity and delicacy. Lily Franky has a light touch in his portrayal of the emotionally restricted Kenzaburo. This is a man who can’t acknowledge his wife’s fears of her coming decline (“Everything will be alright,” he keeps insisting), but spends hours desperately searching for her when she wanders away in confusion. He can’t converse openly with his son, but is capable of caring for his wife, even when her dementia sees her bedbound, and in pain. Tae Kimura also deserves kudos for her role as Akiko, a woman tenderly devoted to her husband, despite his flaws, and constantly encouraging, despite his failures. She imbues the role with tenderness, compassion, dignity, and vulnerability and her decline is heartbreaking. Kosei Kudo and Yuri Tsunematsu also deserve credit for giving the younger Kenzaburo and Akiko a believable mix of nervousness, excitement, and hope.

Cottontail is a gentle, quiet film about pain, loss, family, and forgiveness and will appeal to mature viewers who enjoy serious, thoughtful, character-centered cinema. There are no action scenes, no explosions, no sex scenes, and no spandex. There is also little violence or profanity, although there are scenes of main characters smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, sometimes to excess. The movie is unrated, but it weighs in at the low end of the PG-13 rating. Rating aside, this is not a story that will interest teens. They simply don’t have the life experience to appreciate this honest look at mortality, frailty, fear, and love. Older viewers, however, might find that this film hits uncomfortably close to home.

Directed by Patrick Dickinson. Starring Lily Franky, Ryo Nishikodo, Tae Kimura, Ciaran Hinds. Running time: 94 minutes. Theatrical release July 12, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for Cottontail

Rating & Content Info

Why is Cottontail rated Not Rated? Cottontail is rated Not Rated by the MPAA

Violence:   A main character shoplifts at a market. He also steals a bike at a train station. There’s a bit of pushing and shoving. There’s mention of euthanasia.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There is a single minor profanity in the script.
Alcohol / Drug Use:   A bereaved man drinks alcohol to excess. A main character frequently smokes cigarettes. Adults drink alcohol with meals.
Other: A person with dementia removes a diaper and lays in soiled bedding.

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Cottontail Parents' Guide

Why is Kenzaburo wracked with guilt? What would you have done in his situation? Do you think he made the right decision regarding his wife’s request?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Another recent Japanese film starring a lead actor with a light touch is Perfect Days, the story of a man who maintains public toilets in Tokyo.

Unfinished emotional business leads a newly-widowed pensioner to board a bus for a cross-country trip through England in The Last Bus.

Miss Potter is a fictionalized biopic of Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit, the book so loved by Akiko.

Told from the perspective of an aging man with dementia, The Father offers brilliant performances and a heartbreaking story.