I’m not a purveyor of good taste, but I really do encourage you to watch Cutie And The Boxer if you haven’t done so yet. The documentary shares the life of Noriko and Ushio Shinohara, a married couple of over 40 years who are celebrated, but struggling, artists in New York City. Ushio is 80, and has been residing in NYC since the early 70s, while Noriko was the young, impressionable art student from Japan that he seduced and made his conquest.
The film highlights their life as a couple, while also tracks their constant challenge to survive as artists today. Noriko’s tale is the true heart of the story, as she recounts her dreams of becoming a full-fledged artist, only to have them take a backseat due to unexpectedly becoming a wife and mother. Old documentary footage featured shows Ushio to be a very volatile, irresponsible figure when he was younger – and it gets relatively sadder, as his maverick, devil-may-care artsy attitude threatened to tear away at what little they had.
Luckily, things end of a high note – despite the pitfalls, Noriko and Ushio truly belong together. He obviously NEEDS her, and the tables have turned for quite some time, as she’s more than wisened up on how to keep her brilliant, yet troubled, husband in check while fulfilling her own ambitions.
Cutie And The Boxer shows that mad, self-anointed geniuses out there never truly carry the brunt of their burden – they leave the heavy lifting to those closest around them, who sometimes have no choice but to be obligated to do so. It’s proof that you can always find strength and resilience in what you do if you love it enough – in this case, Ushio and Noriko agree that art would bind them. The obstacles they faced were a lifelong struggle – not just a momentary whinge or speed bump.
I’ve been craving to see this ever since I first saw its preview, and I’m more than glad I have. (It also boasts a strangely devilish end credit sequence.) It’s beautifully shot, and doesn’t feel like it’s cliche-filled with false nostalgia. This is a genuine love story that everyone can be inspired by.
In part, this is also a shoutout for those women who stand by their (somewhat cranktankerous) men. And it might make the men a wee bit more appreciative of their better halves (if they’re not so already).
“Love is Roar-r-r-r!”
Give it a shot.