Millennium Actress (千年女優 Sennen Joyū) is an Japanese anime drama film that was directed and storyboarded by Satoshi Kon, written by Satoshi Kon and Sadayuki Murai, distributed by KloxWorx, musically composed by Susumu Hirasawa, edited by Satoshi Terauchi, cinematography by Hisao Shirai, produced by Taro Maki and famous Japanese anime company Studio Madhouse, and it starred Mami Koyama, Miyoko Shōji, Fumiko Orisaka, Shōzō Iizuka, Shoko Tsuda, Hirotaka Suzuoki, Hisako Kyoda, Kōichi Yamadera, and Masane Tsukayama.
Filmmaker Genya Tachibana begins work on a documentary about famed Japanese actress Chiyoko Fujiwara. Now well into old age, Chiyoko has become reclusive and shy about any publicity, but she eventually warms up to Tachibana and starts to relate her life story. As the decades pass, Chiyoko is transformed from a teen with big dreams into a full-blown celebrity, while her cinematic characters span various eras, from ancient Japan to the distant future.
Why It Rocks
- Parts of this move are very reminissent of Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon's first feature film, in the way it comments on the terror that can come from being a famous person, although this one focuses specifically on Actresses rather than Idols.
- Excellent animation. Especially from Madhouse.
- Surprisingly good humor. That's not something you'd expect from a Satoshi Kon film, and you'd think it would detract from the overall themes, but it shockingly doesn't, it fits perfectly.
- Appealing characer designs.
- The movie tells in intriuging story about an aging actress who made dozens of movies over the decades telling her life story.
- Great soundtrack that is greatly appreciated and quite emotional.
- The main heroine, Chiyoko Fujiwara, is an incredibly interesting, likable, and tragic protagonist.
- Good voice acting from the original actors of the film.
- The layout of the film is also unique. The movie is told in a way where Chiyoko is telling her life story to a bunch of filmmakers, who wants to make a documentary about it. She tells it while they're rolling the cameras. However, there are times when the lines between a film and a documentary can blure, and the movie even has to remind us at certain points that this is in fact a movie. It's very jarring, but in a good way.
- The ending of the movie is unbelievably tragic.
- Another great theme that's in this movie is about the quest for love.
- Much like Satoshi Kon's other anime film, Perfect Blue, this movie has a really strong, interesting, likable, and deep main female character.
Millennium Actress has a 92% critic rating and a 90% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 4/5 on Letterboxd, a 7.9/10 on the International Movie Database (IMDB), an 8.32/10 on MyAnimelist, an 82.21% community approval rating on Kitsu, and a 4.1/5 on AnimePlanet.