Why do we look back? To learn from our mistakes? To reminisce? To torture ourselves? Is it very much a male thing to do or do women torture themselves this way too?
Former prize-winning author Ryota, Hiroshi Abe (Chocolate, Still Walking), is down in the dumps with no-one but himself to blame.
He gambles away what little money he makes as a private detective, or extorting money from the people he’s supposed to be spying on, and can barely pay his monthly child support.
His father having recently passed, Ryota seeks to get back in touch with his elderly mother, played wonderfully by Kirin Kiki (Still Walking, Sweet Bean) and sister, Satomi Kobayashi.
Both of them are moving on with their lives along with his beautiful, and well liked, ex-wife, Yoko Maki (Like Father, Like Son, The Grudge) and young son, Taiyo Yoshizawa.
Ryota struggles with his new place in the world, unable to shake-off how things are and yearning for how things were.
He’s unsure where he fits into this new world of an elderly mother all alone, a sister and her children, an ex-wife who’s found someone new and his young son.
That is until, on the day Ryota is looking after his son at his mother’s, a typhoon hits the city, providing all of them the opportunity to truly find their place in this brave new world.
Writer and director Hirokazu Koreeda (Still Walking, Like Father, Like Son) has created a truly wonderful little film that crosses cultural boundaries and touches on parenting, responsibilities, our places in the world, forgiveness and our capacity to love.
It’s a dialogue heavy film but you never feel weighed down by it all. There are even some lighter touches thrown in, whether that’s Ryota in his private detective work or when he and his sister are discussing their mother.
Some of the dialogue is astonishing. There are so many quotes I want to pick out and writer, in fact I want to put the all around the office.
They’re wonderful little nuggets that speak volumes and cross cultural boundaries without even thinking about it.
It’s well written, well directed, wonderfully acted, sad, poignant, happy and funny all rolled into one. I’ve never seen a film like this from Japan, it’s just fabulous.
A tale that will resonate with you wherever you are in your life and that can only serve to bring a nice warm feeling to those that view it. More please.
AFTER THE STORM is in UK cinemas on the 2nd June 2017.