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Everyone has their own inner dialogue, and 31-year-old Mitsuko (Non) just so happens to name hers ‘A’, short for Answer. Embracing the single life, Mitsuko enthusiastically plans solo weekend outings with the guidance of her inner life coach, venturing alone to a day spa and trendy café.
Suddenly, everything changes when Mitsuko realises she can’t ignore her growing attraction towards the equally awkward and younger salesman Tada-kun. This sets off an internal battle between the comfort of single life and her desire for a romantic relationship. Matters are made worse when Mitsuko finds out that her college bestie Satsuki (Ai Hashimoto) is married with a kid on the way, bringing on the existential crisis of being left behind in life.
Director Akiko Ōku (Tremble All You Want, JFF Plus 2020) has whimsically adapted Risa Wataya’s novel into a relatable rom-com, with Non perfectly portraying Mitsuko’s chaotic inner world. Hold Me Back pushes the imaginative threshold of what it’s like to wrestle with your conscience, striking a chord in those who have experienced loneliness.
Winner of both the Best Director and Best Actress at the Japan Movie Critics Award 2021
Winner of the Audience Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2020
Thursday 28th October
Non ., Kento Hayashi