Audition is a 1999 J-horror movie by Takashi Miike. (I thought this was a Takashi Shimizu film. I lied to many. Sorry) Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the film, you’re safe to read until Audition Role Call.
A man, whose wife died, is still single some years later. Using his job position, he and a friend hold a casting call audition to find the perfect wife.
Sparsity of Sound
Audition doesn’t manipulate the audience with background noise. The quiet of the film unsettles. And the long stretches let the acting and situations speak for themselves. It also means we project our own bias onto whatever’s happening. At no point does music really take the lead in telling us who is in the wrong before the scenes let you know for sure.
Spoiler Free Wrap-up
Upon rewatching with my boyfriend, I realized my memory of the film only clung to the scene at the very end. We watched it on Shudder. I convinced him it was a sappy love story until he noticed that. As his eyes glazed over at the 25 minute mark, he kept asking me, “So is that guy gonna stalk and kill someone or something?”
The movie moves so slow, it won’t be for everyone.
It’s also a pretty good allegory for dating.(3.8 / 5)
Somehow this managed only to make honorable mention in one of our lists.
Audition Role Call
We play the hand dealt and shuffle off into the roles the world decides.
Read the plot I put down and tell me that isn’t just creepy and a gross misuse of power. Our dear protagonist Aoyama, age 42, is a creep. His wife died and he raises his son alone. He never told the cashier at Mickey D’s (cool kids still say that right?) to **** his ****, but he did hit it and quit it with a coworker who never quite moved on.
My point? Aoyama is a terrible person, but we never hate him in the film.
Let’s look at best girl Asami, age 24. She shows up “looking for work”. In reality, she seems perfectly aware of what’s happening and a courtship begins. The friend participating in the scheme warns Aoyama that her portfolio’s contacts are all unreachable.
Suddenly, Asami seems more sinister, but really, isn’t she on the same footing as Aoyama? Without given a cause for worry, Aoyama’s friend thinks her suspicious for perfectly fitting the role. At this point though, she’s only playing the same sketchy game as Aoyama. (Which is dating as a whole)
We only know for sure something is amiss after the gunny sack scene.
The Audition to Happiness
My son told me I better remarry, because I look worn out.Aoyama, Audition 00:10:39
A man needs a woman to support him or he’d exhaust himself.Rie, Audition 00:44:49
The world decided Aoyama was lonely. Introduced after his wife dies, we don’t see Aoyama alone until after this conversation with his son. Apophenia takes a hold and Aoyama thinks, “I guess I am.”
What kills me is at the end of the film, Asami helps us realize how not alone he is. He has his son, a housekeeper he’s on good terms with, friends he sees regularly, and his wife is a fond memory to him now.
Asami hunts down relationships, looking for some sort of fulfillment, like many women do, after losing her ability to do ballet. However, she is of the mindset that being the center of someone’s world is the end all be all.
Horror fans can quickly conjure up scenes from movies like The Craft to prove singular devotion isn’t love. But that’s what she wants.
Asami entered into a relationship with Shibata but tortured him after finding him with the owner of a bar. We can question if Shibata used Asami for sex and moved on to the bar owner or if during a legit relationship, Asami saw Shibata with the lady ’til the cows come home. She still chose hobbling him to make him completely dependent on her, even though she no longer cared for him, shown by her looking for someone new.
What’s My Point?
People make it sound like people are unfulfilled until they find someone. If that someone dies, replace them like a cat. Men need the perfect attractive automaton women and women need the perfect working men to devote themselves wholly to.
Audition shows us the wrong of that. Look at this beautiful composed woman! But she’s almost as clingy and broken as the aforementioned hit it and quit it coworker. Finding a boyfriend didn’t fix her.
Look at this guy, incomplete without a wife! But he wasn’t. He hung out with friends and family, who always had his back. His coworker warning him about Asami, his son coming home, saving his life, proves it.
Audition says a lot of things. You could derive so many different meanings from the film and many people have. My take away had less to do with gender politics as it did with people’s bullshit view on dating and the pressure to find someone.
Being alone does not equal lonely and if you think that, I’m sure there’s a reddit forum for you.