JFF Dear Doctor Review

Editor; Australia (@Kwenton)
JFF Dear Doctor Review

With Dear Doctor comes the feeling that something is always awry. It is greater than the sum of its parts and more complicated than it first seems. Coming across initially as a drama serial, the film eventually firmly places itself as a full length feature.

The majority of the film takes place in a small village, and the movie begins with most of the town searching for an elusive doctor, many disturbed and worried about him missing, particularly a young man and a pair of eager detectives.


Cut to some time in the past and that same young man intern Soma (dorama actor Eita) is travelling towards that village, ignorant and lost as he stumbles into the small town, slightly judgmental but ultimately sincere. The scene is ripe for some black comedy; funny locals ranging from the naïve elderly to the seriously selfish await Soma as he waits patiently for his boss, the mysterious Dr. Ino (Tsurube Shofukutei) initially shown helping a patients pet. For Soma the small town life is a culture shock that takes some time to adjust. He tries his best and after being introduced to the good doctor, travels from door to door with him, helping the residents. Flash backs and forwards litter these funny and insightful scenes, some more information is realised regarding who the doctor is, and what ultimately became of him. It is the story of both a superhero and a charity case; his bedside manners border on sensitive to reveal a true vulnerability. There is a lot of poignancy from his reactions to the more serious cases in the town, the pain elicited and the personal relationships maintained. Ino is viewed as a positive manipulator, his charisma and good nature authentic but still tinging with an upsetting issue that is all his own.


This becomes all too apparent when his first emergency case is presented to him, and he immediately displays unacceptable negligence, his inability outweighs his natural goodness and in some very tense, accurate and realistic scenes, his fraud is revealed. He meanders down the hallway as his patient is taken to a bigger hospital, morals and ethics are questioned and everyone that knew him are affected.


Ino is certainly the focal point of Dear Doctor, his character is larger than life, but ultimately a tortured soul that soon realises the damage he is causing. The movie has a few twists and turns, particularly from the detectives hot on his trail, but the results of his actions are the true stand out moments of the movie. In particularly one patient and the daughter who travels back to the town to straighten things with him. Like a trigger everything falls into place eventually and the sudden end does little to tie up any loose ends, but is strangely fitting in its own right and does offer a glimpse of the future of the village. It is a melancholy final scene that perfectly describes Ino, both for his function and reasoning in what he does.

Dear Doctor

  • Miwa Nishikawa
  • Miwa Nishikawa (based on the novel by)
  • Miwa Nishikawa (screenplay)
  • Tsurube Shôfukutei
  • Eita
  • Teruyuki Kagawa
  • Haruka Igawa
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Miwa NishikawaTsurube ShôfukuteiEitaTeruyuki KagawaHaruka IgawaDrama

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