Very sweet, wryly funny in spots, but always haunted by war (described sparingly but never shown). It was based on a stage play and betrays its theatrical roots in some of the pacing and staging. It's slow, perhaps too slow for action film fans, but it's not boring. Rather, it's delicate and precise like tea ceremony.
This is the story of an elderly couple told in flashbacks to a few weeks in the spring of 1945. The two main characters, Etsuko Kamiya and Nagayo-san are played by 40-ish actors who convey their younger 20-something selves convincingly. The literal translation of the Japanese title is "Etsuko Kamiya's Youth." The actress who plays Etsuko looks too young, however, as her elderly self (who appears first in the movie), so much so that I was confused at first when she called Nagayo "tô-san" ("Dad"), so that I thought he might be her father or father-in-law, instead of her husband. He looks considerably older than she in the scenes that show them as elderly. It's not uncommon for Japanese women to call their husbands "Dad" when they have children. However, no offspring appear on-screen, nor are there any direct allusions to children in the dialog. It takes the flashbacks to reveal who these people are to each other through showing us their younger selves.
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