Perfect Days Parent Guide
There's not much plot, but this is a touching portrait of a man's quiet life.
Parent Movie Review
From the outside, Hirayama (Koji Yakusho) doesn’t look like he has a fulfilling life. The middle-aged man works for Tokyo Toilets, cleaning the city’s public bathrooms. He lives alone and spends his time tending to his plants, playing cassette tapes, and reading books. Nonetheless, he finds joy in the beauties of nature and satisfaction from a job well done. It’s the little things that matter to Hirayama – breathing in fresh morning air, taking the perfect photo of leaves against the sky, finding a sapling to nurture. His life might look narrow, but he finds surprising sources of happiness within its confines.
It’s easy to see why Koji Yakusho won the Cannes Best Actor Award with his almost wordless performance as the quiet, serene Hirayama. It’s unfortunate that the rest of the cast don’t measure up to his standard. Yakusho’s dignified portrayal makes Tokio Emoto’s cartoonishly bad turn as his young coworker Takashi all the more mystifying. How does director Wim Wenders nurture Yakusho’s understated Hirayama while allowing Emoto to yell and stumble about like a character in a bad Bugs Bunny film? Takashi’s a stereotype of “kids these days” – lazy, lacking pride in his work, entitled, selfish, and irresponsible. Having characters interact with caricatures is sometimes successful in comedy, but it has no place in a drama, particularly one as nuanced as this.
Uneven character portrayals are a serious weakness movie in a film that has little in the way of plot. A movie with minimal narrative tension requires characters to drive the story forward, and Hirayama is the only one capable of doing so. His performance will doubtless please cinema afficionados, but it’s unlikely to be enough for moviegoers who want a compelling story with some action, comedy, or variety.
As far as content is concerned, Perfect Days is mostly clean. It’s free from violence and features brief alcohol consumption and a handful of profanities. Even sexual content is limited to bathing-related nudity. The PG rating is appropriate, but this isn’t a family film because it will bore kids senseless within the first ten minutes. Perfect Days is a fine film for fans of serious cinema – and anyone else who wants to marvel at the wonders of Japan’s public toilet infrastructure. There might not be much of a story in this very, very long film, but it’s a touching portrait of a quiet life well lived.Directed by Wim Wenders. Starring Koji Yakusho, Tokio Emoto, Arisa Nakaon. Running time: 123 minutes. Theatrical release February 14, 2024. Updated February 9, 2024
Watch the trailer for Perfect Days
Rating & Content Info
Why is Perfect Days rated PG? Perfect Days is rated PG by the MPAA for some language, partial nudity, and smoking
Violence: None noted.
Sexual Content: A man urinates; seen from behind. Men are seen naked from the back and side as they bathe in a Japanese public bath house. Sumo wrestlers on TV have partially visible buttocks as part of their traditional clothing. A woman surprises an older man by kissing him on the cheek.
Profanity: The script contains three scatological curses and a minor profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An intoxicated man is briefly seen. A main character drinks what looks like beer and smokes cigarettes.
Page last updated February 9, 2024
Perfect Days Parents' Guide
Co-starring in the film are Japan’s public toilets. For more information, see below:
Tokyo Toilet: The Tokyo Toilet
Tokyo Cheapo: Tokyo Toilets: When Architecture Calls
The New York Times: How Toilets Got a Starring Role in a Wim Wenders Movie
Smart Cities Dive: The struggle to find a public toilet