Top positive review
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Funny, tender and profound family story
on 21 April 2015
Koreeda's movie is a thoughtful, gently touching, funny and unexpectedly profound study of two small boys whose mum and dad have split up, each taking one of the boys with them. The mother lives in a tiny flat with her parents; the dad, likewise in a tiny flat, but whose companions are his fellow rock band members. The cast of actors is great: the grown-ups are professionals, the children are simply children whom the director chose to play the parts, and very good they all are. Indeed, the kids weren't shown the complete script for the film but were simply briefed on the plot on a day-by-day basis, and then rehearsed using improvised dialogue.
The camerawork is exceptionally imaginative, varied and entirely at the service of the dramatic and emotional needs of the film. All the while the volcano, Sakurajima, across the bay from the city of Kagoshima, rumbles away like some wordless Greek chorus commenting on the action of the drama and underlining the unease felt by the older of the two boys who worries that his mum and dad will never get back together. Highly recommended.