In Still Walking we alight on the anniversary of an eldest son's death 15 years before on this ordinary Japanese family's life like a yellow butterfly,which enters the family home like the spirit of Junpei come home.The spirit of Ozu's Tokyo Story breathes in this lovely drama of Japanese manners.Ryota(Hiroshi),a freelance art restorer,the central character,is dreading the occasion.His mother Toshiko(Kirin Kiki) bristles,as he's wed a widow Yukari with a son(Atsushi),and recently lost his job.His father, Kyohei (Harada), a retired doctor,rarely speaks to him.His favourite was the deceased Junpei,who was going to inherit his doctor's practice.His death hovers over the rituals of the family's day,including watering the grave stone.The idea that people don't go away is explored in a conversation Yukari has with her son about the presence of his deceased father inside of him along with her spirit as well.
Alongside this we see Ryota's sister Chinamee(You),her feckless husband Nobuo,and their lively children,her desire to move with her family back into the parental home. Ryota's father Kyohai is a cantankerous brooder,trying to manipulate Atsushi,his grandchild,to become a doctor.Toshiko reveals beneath her gentle hospitality and cooking skills,to have a reservoir of anger:one the ungainly stranger,the young man Junpei saved from drowning,socially awkward and made to squirm by the parents, only invited back to each commemoration so she has someone to hate;the other revolves around the playing of an old(favourite) song,reminding her of Kyohai's infidelity.There are better moments,Toshiko's corn fritters bring back happy memories and old photos and stories come out.Chinamee and family leave without resolving their future plans,while Ryota and company spend the night,though his mother is chilly about him and Yukari having children.
The coda is of Ryota's return with his prosperous,extended family to tend his parents' grave a few years hence. Director Kore-eda `s feelings of filial inadequacy following his own mother's death,led to his attempt to recapture lost time but with honesty,no rosy-tinted memoir.Nothing of real consequence happens in the course of a single summer day,merely ripples on the surface,only where the essence of life can be found.The parents drift towards death brims with life,moments captured like photos in an old family album.