Enlightenment Guaranteed (2000) is a light hearted but touching comedy by German director Doris Dörrie, known for such illuminating films as Men… (1985) and Cherry Blossoms (2008), also set in Japan. It's about two affluent middle aged brothers, Uwe and Gustav, who are going through a midlife crisis and end up roaming the streets of Tokyo together.
A German couple with three children, who seem to have everything, are finding that in their pursuit of success and providing for their family, they have somehow lost touch with the important things in life that can make a big difference in achieving happiness. This is the place where Petra, the wife of Uwe, finds herself one day, when she decides she’s had enough and leaves her husband, taking their kids with her and leaving the house empty.
In the human maze that is Tokyo, Japan, lost in the tech gadget obsessed city, through a series of humorous mishaps, they soon lose their money, credit cards and hotel room, which are shown in a funny vignette that exposes their differing personality traits. After a night spent sleeping in a cemetery under cardboard boxes, they eventually find their way to the Buddhist temple where their journey of self-discovery begins.
What’s fascinating about this film is the sense of contentment the two brothers and we the audience feel when they finally learn to accept their faults and enjoy life. Putting their differences aside, they learn to respect and help each other and forge a true bond of friendship while finding peace and acceptance.
I found this film to be truly enlightening and full of surprises and humor.