Nobody Knows – Filtered

Theatrical Release: February 4, 2005
DVD Release: September 13, 2005


Four siblings live happily with their mother in a small apartment in Tokyo. The children all have different fathers and have never been to school. The very existence of three of them has been hidden from the landlord. One day, the mother leaves behind a little money and a note, charging her oldest boy to look after the others. And so begins the children’s odyssey, a journey nobody knows. Though engulfed by the cruel fate of abandonment, the four children do their best to survive in their own little world, devising and following their own set of rules. When they are forced to engage with the world outside their cocooned universe, the fragile balance that has sustained them collapses. Their innocent longing for their mother, their wary fascination toward the outside world, their anxiety over their increasingly desperate situation, their inarticulate cries, their kindness to each other, their determination to survive on wits and courage.

Dove Review

In this beautifully sad movie, four siblings are abandoned by their mother who has hidden their very existence from the world. They lived together in a tiny apartment and were not allowed to venture outside or make loud noises. Despite the circumstances, they were very happy until one day the mother abandoned the children for another life that didn’t include them. She left behind a little money and the oldest boy in charge. The children manage to survive by sneaking out of the apartment to bathe in the fountain at the park, beg for leftover food from a store, and check phone booths for change. All went fairly smoothly until the oldest boy began to crave his freedom and started to spend more and more time away from home. During this time, tragedy struck and the reality of their situation refocuses.

“Nobody Knows” is a Japanese movie based on a true story of children such as the ones in this movie. I stated earlier that it was beautifully sad. The sad part is obvious as the abandoned children are forced to survive on their own with the oldest boy being no more than fifteen years old. It was beautiful because of the music and the bond that the children shared. The children found ways to bring happiness to their days when there wasn’t any.

Although subtitled, the movie was very easy to watch and had very little wrong with it- an unusual thing to stumble upon in most movies. It should be noted that the film includes the death of one of the girls, a scene where some kids steal some candy, and the idea of abandonment. So I recommend it for ages twelve and above. Other than these concerns, I give it a high recommendation!

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: A girl gets money for doing something although it is unclear what exactly (appears to be sex, but she says she just kept a man company).
Language: None
Violence: None
Drugs: Mother smokes in one scene.
Nudity: None
Other: Stealing by children and abandonment by mother.


Company: MGM/UA Home Video
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 141 min.
Reviewer: Sarah Bennor