The fact that “Nobody Knows” is based on a true story is ridonkulous. I’ve heard of the bum who secretly lived in someone else’s closet. I guess the story of four young siblings who lived without adult supervision is just as credible.

“Nobody Knows” is initially intriguing. Much of its allure is conjured by its inured cast. Actress You plays Keiko, the deserting mother. It’s a small role but one that makes the premise plausible. As a parent, Keiko babies her little 4 year-old Yuki and 7 year-old Shigeru (Momoko Shimizu and Hiei Kimura, respectively). But this cutesy parenting is all the more perverse when you realize how immature and selfish she is. The older kids sees through this charade, but they don’t speak up or criticize their mother. Ten year-old daughter Kyoko (Ayu Kitaura) diligently does the chores while the pubescent son Akira manages the budget while she’s away.

An ample of screen time is devoted to Akira; he is the only one allowed to negotiate with the outside world. We watch him watch the real world, as he wonders what it’s like to have a normal childhood. Yuya Yagira, who plays him, won the Best Actor award in Cannes. He breathes and grows into the hapless character. There are moments where your heart just ache for him.

The movie sadly drags midway. The kids’ home gives way to entropy. The film wants to capture the growth of grime and minute details of monotony. And oh boy, it feels like it can go on indefinitely.

“Get found already!” I yelled at the screen, wishing the story can produce some action or tension. For most of the time “Nobody Knows” goes nowhere! The movie is more than 2 hours long (141 minutes to be exact) but it feels so so much longer. Did anyone supervise Hirokazu Koreeda, the Japanese filmmaker who has all the time in the world? Has anyone taught him the mature act of editing? It’s ridonkulous how he made me hate a movie I was beginning to love.

Grade: C+

Yuya Yagira, Ayu Kitauru, Hiei Kimura, Momoko Shimizu, Hanae Kan, and You
Written and directed by
Hirokazu Koreeda
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements and some sexual references