I Want To Eat Your Pancreas: A Film Review

Kae Lajorda, Writer

‘I want to eat your pancreas’ is about a young girl named Sakura who was diagnosed with a pancreatic illness, and told she had only a little time left to live Want to Eat Your Pancreas has as much in common with A Silent Voice as it does with the live-action Hollywood film The Fault in Our Stars. In the broadest sense, the film deals with a girl with a terminal illness, a boy who keeps her secret, and the unnamed relationship they create. At first glance it looks like another sappy melodramatic romance meant to make you cry your eyes out. Yet first-time director Shinichiro Ushijima (who also wrote the film) has more in mind than just a downer film about death, and instead makes a beautiful celebration of life with some interesting ideas about fate.

The biggest surprise in I Want To Eat Your Pancreas is how funny it is. Sakura is well aware of her impending death, so she copes with it with deadpan gallows humor that may make some audience members uncomfortable. There’s also the not-so-typical relationship between Sakura and our protagonist (I swear they say his name before the film ends, but it’s a thing that he won’t say it at first). Their initial misjudgments are quite funny, as Sakura keeps forcing her nameless friend to help her check crazier and crazier things off her bucket list, but their banter and dynamic becomes quite sweet to see and the dialogue feels natural. When Sakura can’t understand why her new friend won’t talk to anyone at school, the resulting tension between them also rings true to our own struggles in relating to and engaging with people.

There’s also the theme of “chance versus fate” that runs through I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, the idea that fate is nothing but the result of thousands of choices we make though life. It’s a sentiment that makes you look at certain characters in a different light, and one that makes the “girl wants a boy to enjoy life” part of the story more profound than you’d think coming from a film with a title like this one.

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas may look like a traditional romantic drama about a dying character, but it is a heartfelt celebration of life and friendships with a tight script and round characters. It is honestly amazing that this film works as well as it does, and that it still manages to surprise you with a few twists and turns that will have theatrical audiences crying in their seats.