Movie Review: Cutie and the Boxer

Ushio and Noriko Shinohara

Article By Raymond Mei
Photo by Niko

Cutie and the Boxer is a documentary that closely observes the love and struggles of married Japanese artists, Ushio and Noriko Shinohara. The New York based artists have stuck together since the 60’s and triumphed over financial and emotional hardships. Despite the setbacks, Ushio and Noriko continue to do what they love: to create art.

Director Zachary Heinzerling

Starring Ushio and Noriko as themselves, director Zachary Heinzerling excellently portrays their lives through visuals of their art and share intimate moments that reflect their dedication and strengths as a couple for 40-years. Ushio arrived in New York City at the age of 19 after leaving Japan to gain international recognition for his works. He met Noriko in New York and fell in love. Noriko comes from a family of wealth, but she did not want her family’s support and left that behind as well as her education to pursue her dreams. She married Ushio and has a son named Alex.

Noriko Shinohara

Noriko’s painting of an avatar named Cutie and Ushio’s “box painting” style inspired the title Cutie and the Boxer. Ushio who is 80 and Noriko at 59, both continue to share and create art for over half a century. Now, Ushio struggles to establish his legacy as an artist while Noriko rediscovers her passion for art creating a series of illustrations that portray her obstacles through the years with Ushio.

Ushio Shinohara

The documentary starts where Ushio and Noriko are apart and just starting their lives as independent artist to where the married couple is working together preparing their latest installation for a public showcase of their works. Through vérité style filming, the use of many archival footage and animated sequences of Noriko’s drawings, the documentary shows us the different styles in the Shinoharas’ art and how their different personalities have been the basis for their long marriage and commitment to their creative crafts.

Ushio and Noriko Shinohara

Ultimately, Cutie and the Boxer is a documentary film that reveals the truths about the sacrifices of being an artist and how the creative process intersects with reality, identity and marriage. CUTIE AND THE BOXER will open in New York (and Los Angeles) on Friday, August 16 at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema and Landmark Sunshine Cinema. A national roll out will follow.

For more, please visit:

Avatar photo

About AsianInNY is New York’s leader in Asian networking and a multi-cultural entertainment site. AsianInNY has established itself as the premier social and cultural authority for Asians in New York City. AsianInNY maintains the highest standards in providing reliable online content and producing live offline events. AsianInNY seeks to inspire, educate, and connect our community, using a versatile platform that engages our audience via a multi-layered digital presence that showcases the best of New York City. Our pages are updated daily with a rich cultural mix of news, events, interviews, and more. AsianInNY: Connect with Everything Asian!