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Three sisters live together in their late grandmother's house in the city of Kamakura. They have lived together since their dad left home for another woman and their mum imitated her husband by running off with another man. Sachi, 29, the oldest Koda sister, a nurse at the local hospital, acts as a substitute mother to Yoshino, 22, and Chika, 19. One day, the threesome learns of the death of their "traitor" father and it is only halfheartedly that they go to his funeral. But in Yamagata something unexpected happens: they meet their half-sister Suzu, 13, there and immediately fall for the spell of this exquisite young creature. Sensing that Yoko, her father's widow, will not be a fit guardian, Sachi invites Suzu to move in with them.Written by
When Koereda first read the manga series "Umi-machi Diary", he was immediately attracted to the story which dealt with family, death and child being abandoned and felt he was the right director to bring it to film. He contacted the author but found someone already had a right to the book. Couple years later he was informed the right to the book had been withdrawn and it was his if he was still interested. See more »
When the four sisters are having their lunch with Chika's boyfriend at their house, in the interior shot looking outward, all the noodles on the main plate have been eaten.
In the next scene, an exterior scene looking inward to the house, Sachi reaches down and takes the plate away but Chika reaches up and takes several noodles off the plate with her chopsticks. See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. Movies don't frequently begin after the most disruptive drama has already occurred. However, such is the case with director Hirokazu Koreeda's adaptation of Akima Yoshida's graphic novel "Umimachi Diary", the source material for this tale of sisterly love formed by tradition and some unfavorable circumstances that are "nobody's fault" (a recurring theme).
Three adult sisters live together in their large family home, and have done so for many years – since their father left for another woman, and their mother, unable to cope, abandoned them. Sachi (Hanuka Ayase) is the oldest and self-burdens by carrying the most responsibility. Yoshino (Masami Nagasawa) and Chiko (Kaho) are quite a bit more care-free than their older sister, but this non-traditional family unit functions with traditional meals served within the walls of their traditional house.
The sisters attend their father's funeral where they meet their half-sister Suzu (Suzu Hirose), who they invite to come live with them. The small town community of Kamakura provides a quaint and beautiful backdrop for the film which has plenty of personal drama (what would you expect from 4 sisters?) but lacks the high drama that cinema usually heaps on screen.
We easily get to know each of the characters, and how they deal with being a product of their past, while hoping not to repeat the mistakes of their parents. Although "death" is seemingly everywhere, this is mostly a story about appreciating life and beauty – and the strength that comes with a family bond.
The acting is superb throughout, and director Koreeda's camera work is understated and complimentary except for the moments when it's breathtaking – the Cherry Blossom tunnel, for instance. The look and feel of the film is quite tranquil, but emotions are constantly stirring – whether at a local diner or harvesting the family plum tree for this year's plum wine. It's little wonder that the film was so well received at Cannes Film Festival, and for those who enjoy a less-thunderous approach to cinema, it should be quite a pleasant two hours.
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