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Air Doll (Not Rated)

Japanese with English subtitles

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The premise of Air Doll seems silly at best, salacious at worst: an inflatable sex doll comes to life. But in the sensitive hands of internationally-acclaimed director Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Walking, After Life, Nobody Knows) the story becomes a magical meditation on what it means to be human. Lonely middle-aged waiter Hideo (Itsuji Itao) relieves his solitude with the company of an air doll: he chats with her, dresses her, and has sex with her every night. One morning after he has left for work, the doll suddenly comes to life and, dressing up in her maid outfit, goes out to explore the world with the wide-eyed wonder of a small child. Beautiful Korean star Bae Doona (The Host) is mesmerizing as the come-to-life doll, fearlessly naked both physically and emotionally. Mimicking the speech and actions of her neighbors the air doll learns to fit in, and soon lands a job working at a video store, where she begins to fall in love with a sympathetic co-worker (Arata). Yet every night she goes home and pretends to be a doll for Hideo, who has not noticed any change. Her soul is pure, but one of the first things she learns as a human is deceit. "I found myself with a heart I was not supposed to have," she says.