Film Review: My Little Sweet Pea

By Kevin Young

My Little Sweet Pea, is a matriarchal story that belittles every mother portrayed in this film.

Mugiko (Maki Horikita) works at a manga store and aspires to become an anime voice actress. She works hard and rejects invitations to hang out with friends to save up money for the expensive voice acting school.

Her whole world becomes distorted when her long gone forsaken mother Saiko (Yo Kimiko) moves in with her and her gambling obsessed brother Norio (Matsuda Ryuhei). Norio often calls Saiko a nagging bitch and decides to move out of their cramped apartment to Mugiko’s dismay.

Mugiko becomes irritated with her mother for having an alarm clock that vehemently and discourteously wakes Mugiko up on a daily basis. Mugiko never calls Saiko mom and often criticisms every little thing she does. Yet Saiko pretends that Mugiko is just kidding even when she isn’t. For instance, Mugiko sternly and physically rams Saiko against a hard wall and Saiko takes it as a joke, still offering to cook for Mugiko.

It becomes known that Saiko came to live with her children because she knew she was slowly dying from liver cancer yet her children don’t seem to care after Saiko suddenly dies. Her children do attend her funeral but are apathetic throughout the whole process. Even in death Norio continues to call her a bitch.

Mugiko takes it upon herself to travel back to her mother’s hometown to bury her ashes there. Yet she absentmindedly forgets the permit to allow her to bury the ashes and is forced to stay in the town while Norio looks for the permit to mail out to her. Mugiko often gets mistaken for her mother as the whole town comments on how she is the mirrored image of Saiko which Mugiko disapproves of.

After spending a few nights in the town Mugiko learns about her mother from talking to Saiko’s friends. She continues to show harsh emotional outrage towards Saiko but eventually learns to forgive and shows remorse for refusing to acknowledge Saiko as her mother the last day Saiko was alive.

This is a melancholy, bittersweet film that touches upon human emotion. Is it justified for children to dislike their parents for not being there most of their lives even when their parents try to make amends during their final days on earth?

Mugiko eventually learns to practice empathy and now understands where Saiko came from. The message of this film is to appreciate your own mother and to practice empathy towards them.


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