Air Doll

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Air Doll
Promotional poster
Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
Produced by Hirokazu Koreeda
Toshiro Uratani
Written by Hirokazu Koreeda (screenplay)
Yoshiie Gōda (original manga)
Starring Bae Doona
Itsuji Itao
Music by World's End Girlfriend
Cinematography Pin Bing Lee
Editing by Hirokazu Koreeda
Distributed by Asmik Ace Entertainment
Fortissimo Films
Ocean Films
Release dates
  • 14 May 2009 (2009-05-14)
Running time 125 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office $1,130,635[1]

Air Doll (空気人形 Kūki Ningyō?) is a 2009 Japanese drama film directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. It is based on the manga series Kuuki Ningyo by Yoshiie Gōda, which was serialized in the seinen manga magazine Big Comic Original,[2] and is about an inflatable doll that develops a consciousness and falls in love.[3] The movie debuted in the Un Certain Regard section at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival.[4][5] It opened in Japanese cinemas on 26 September 2009.

Director Koreeda has stated that the film is about the loneliness of urban life and the question of what it means to be human.[6][7]


Middle-aged Hideo lives alone with an inflatable doll he calls Nozomi. The doll is his closest companion. He dresses it up, talks to it over dinner, takes it out for walks in the community (with the doll in a wheel chair) and has sexual intercourse with it. However, unbeknown to Hideo, Nozomi finds a heart. After Hideo leaves for work each day, Nozomi dresses in her maid's outfit and explores the world outside their apartment with a sense of childlike wonder. Eventually she takes a job in a video store and becomes romantically involved with one of the employees. He discovers her secret—with unanticipated results.



The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 45% out of 20 professional critics gave the film a positive review.[8]

Reaction to the film's debut screening at Cannes was mixed, with reviewers praising Bae Doona's performance but criticising the film for its length and a lack of substance. Screen International's Dan Fainaru described the film as having a "rather thin narrative core" and its director's approach as "too diffuse", but concluded that it could be "an enjoyable work" under the right conditions.[9] Writing for Variety, Dan Ellery said the film would have potential if cut to about 90 minutes but that "in its present form, pic may not get much farther than the fest netherworld."[10] In contrast, The Hollywood Reporter's Maggie Lee described it as "an achingly beautiful meditation on loneliness and longing in the city" and suggested its themes would particularly appeal to female audiences.[11]


The film was released on DVD in Japan on 26 March 2010, in standard and limited editions. Both editions include English subtitles.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Air Doll". Boxofficemojo. Retrieved March 04, 2012.
  2. ^ "Mainichi jp's news about the movie adaptation". 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  3. ^ "Nobody Knows' Kore-eda Brings Air Doll to Cannes". Anime News Network. 2009-04-23. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  4. ^ "Kuki Ningyo (Air Doll)". Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  5. ^ Shackleton, Liz (2009-04-29). "Ocean Films takes French rights to Kore-eda's Air Doll". Screen International. Archived from the original on 22 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  6. ^ ""Air Doll" floats over Un Certain Regard". Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  7. ^ "Japan director says sex doll film has lessons for life". Bangkok Post. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  8. ^ Air Doll. Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^ Fainaru, Dan (2009-05-15). "Air Doll (Kuki Ningyo)". Screen International. Archived from the original on 20 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  10. ^ Ellery, Dan (2009-05-15). "Air Doll". Variety. Archived from the original on 22 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  11. ^ Lee, Maggie (2009-05-15). "Film Review: Air Doll". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  12. ^ "Air Doll (Regular Edition)". CDJapan. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  13. ^ "Air Doll (Limited Edition)". CDJapan. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 

External links[edit]