Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” pretty much made any other artwork or entertainment involving a sex doll irrelevant. But that doesn’t stop people from trying.
Hirokazu Koreeda takes on the premise from the doll’s point of view, and he manages a parable about sex, exploitation, and identity that’s creepy, mawkish, and dull. One day, Nozumi (Bae Doona), the title fetish, who perhaps has been overly cherished by her owner, finds she has a "heart." She wanders away in her maid’s outfit and Mary Jane shoes, imitating people, gazing at the world in fatuous wonder, and alighting at a video store, where her hiring will lead to the inevitable romance with the cute clerk.
Despite the setting, Koreeda limits the number of movie allusions, but he has no qualms about indulging in a whole shelfload of cinema clichés — among them a supporting cast of losers embodying less literal kinds of human emptiness. Kind of like what Wim Wenders did in Wings of Desire, but here it’s all hot air.