Female Directors, Festival Award Winners, Special Events

Hold Me Back


Directed by: Akiko Ōku
2020 / 133 minutes / Unclassified all ages

Official website

Heart over mind or mind over heart?

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.

2021 Japan Movie Critics Award - Winner for both the Best Director & Best Actress
2020 Tokyo International Film Festival - Winner of the Audience Award
Audience warning: contains adult themes

Sunday 14th November

Join us for a post-film talk with Dr Lucy Fraser

Palace Barracks, Brisbane

Saturday 20th November

Join us for a post-film talk with Professor Kaori Okano

The Kino, Melbourne

Wednesday 24th November

The Kino, Melbourne

Saturday 27th November

Palace Norton Street, Sydney

Friday 3rd December

Palace Verona, Sydney

Screens in: Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney

Director: Akiko Ōku

Cast: Non, Kento Hayashi, Ai Hashimoto and Asami Usuda

Genre: Romance

Category: Female Directors, Festival Award Winners, Special Events

Language(s): Japanese with English subtitles