A family gathers together for a commemorative ritual whose nature only gradually becomes clear.A family gathers together for a commemorative ritual whose nature only gradually becomes clear.A family gathers together for a commemorative ritual whose nature only gradually becomes clear.
The way that the story is told is really what is so wonderful about it. I cannot think of any other film off the top of my head that tells this kind of a story so well. It seems so natural and the filmmakers make it look easy, but it's not.
The way the family interacts, the dialog, each character's little idiosyncrasies, it's all done perfectly and flawlessly. There a is a point near the beginning of the film where the matriarch tells a story of an interaction with her neighbors years earlier. The way the story is told and the other characters' reaction feel so real and lifelike.
Everything about the film feels like an ordinary family. Even though this family is in Japan, a country I've never visited, I felt connected to them while watching this. Everything was so relatable to the point that this could have been a real day in the life of a real family shot using hidden cameras.
The way the mother manipulated the daughter-in-law and dishes out underhanded compliments, the way they all tell boring stories that they've all heard a hundred times, the way the son is hesitant to leave his wife alone with his mother out of fear that she'll accidentally give away his little white lies that no one really even cares about but him...all of it feels just like real life, made even better by the wonderful acting from even the children.
And of course the camerawork is great. Everything is done extremely well here. I won't give away too much of the ending, which on its surface could be considered mundane, except to say that it is bittersweet and perfect.
- Nov 13, 2018