This film by writer/director Koreeda is a triumph of simplicity. Telling the story of a family who meet annually to mark the death of oldest son Junpei at the parent's house, you're struck by how well this flows. The acting is uniformly very good and the story never lags. The best thing I found about this film is how it could have been done without a script, if the actors were given this scenario. There is bitterness, pettiness and even selfishness here, all earmarks of the subject matter. I found the stylistic similarities to Ozu films to be very touching and not a bit off putting. When I watched this film in a theater in New York, people applauded at the end. This is about as real life as it gets. Its a universal theme, not a Japanese one. My hat is off to the writer/director, its a fine film.