If you like your movies subtle and sweet, then this should be just the ticket. Although the subject matter isn't too out there in the West, it's interesting to see it broached in the Japanese context, where tradition and respect for family are still held in high esteem. The film deals with familial relationships now, and as such presents a refreshing and forward thinking outlook on the nature of the family unit in the 21st century. Hashiguchi lets us watch these intimate relationships as they build up and, in some cases, break down, without feeling intrusive. There are some wonderful scenes of extended dialogue, the sort of meandering conversations that go nowhere, but that are incredibly involving nonetheless. All the performances are spot on, and there's just the right balance between the humour and the heartache. It's a slow, talky film, but still highly rewarding.
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