I didn't expect a whole lot from Cutie and the Boxer,
but in the end, it really got me. Noriko and Ushio's relationship is so interesting... to see their personalities battle on screen is a real treat. So often, in relationships people can forget the reasons why they love eachother. And all of the negatives can take control of their lives. But Noriko has learned to channel that negativity into something positive. Despite the pain a life of artistic poverty has brought her, she has never lost sight of why she is with Ushio. Indeed, it seems she always knew there would be some kind of positive she could pull from a truly frustrating relationship.
What I find most diabolically interesting about their marriage is that, no matter how much more important Ushio made his career than Noriko's, it seems that she will have the career that will stick with people long after they have gone.
Ushio's "action" style of art is just not as interesting without someone standing there to tell you what it means. But Noriko's is something else, it gives you a full view of a person's perspective... what their life was like... what can be pulled from so much struggle.
Zachary Heinzerling did an excellent job of bringing this story to life. It is truly commendable just how many meaningful moments he was able to pull from Noriko and Ushio's current living situation. And his film never felt repetitive.
At the end of the day, I consider Cutie and the Boxer equally capable of winning Best Documentary at the Oscars as The Act of Killing, though I still have two more in the category to watch. You can catch Cutie and the Boxer on Netflix now.