“Cutie and the Boxer is a movie that makes you feel less like a spectator than a guest, a friend welcomed into the home of an odd and fascinating couple.” —New York Times
This candid and highly entertaining story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. The two met in New York in 1973 when Ushio was a 41-year-old painter and sculptor, and Noriko a 19-year-old student. Director Zachary Heinzerling pays tribute to these two charismatic artists, showing their sometimes volatile and always complex relationship with a raw, yet touching, approach.
Ushio is known for his abstract paintings, upon which he uses boxing gloves to apply paint, and for his fantastical cardboard figures. Noriko has gained attention for her inky cartoon like drawings. The film deftly explores how the couple's lifetime collaboration—influenced by years of money troubles and a sense of persistent competition—is eternally exhilarating, yet rife with conflict.
“Heinzerling’s beautifully shot, painfully intimate look at the aging couple’s struggle to survive amid personal and financial strain is both heartbreaking and intricately profound. This is a story about creative desire so strong it hurts.” —Eric Kohn, IndieWire