our little sister

FILM REVIEW: “Our Little Sister” is a tender Japanese tale of sorority

Veteran director Hirokazu Kore-eda's latest follows three sisters who meet new family in tragedy's wake

If not the sole concern of director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s quarter century career, family life has nonetheless provided him with consistently rewarding subject matter. Through “Nobody Knows” (2004), “Still Walking” (2008), “I Wish” (2011), and “Like Father, Like Son” (2013), he has probed the tight bonds, painful absences, and changing definitions of family in contemporary Japanese society. With a screenplay adapted from Akimi Yoshida’s popular manga, “Umimachi Diary,” Kore-eda returns to the theme with the gently paced and open-hearted “Our Little Sister.”

Sachi (Haruka Ayase), Yoshino (Masami Nagasawa), and Chika (Kaho) are three sisters in their twenties who have shared their home in the coastal town of Kamakura since their father left for another woman and their mother all but deserted them fifteen years earlier. Traveling to the funeral of their estranged father, they meet their half-sister Suzu (Suzu Hirose), a sweet, if serious minded, thirteen year old who had already lost her mother and has now nursed their father through his final illness. Unimpressed by her incapable stepmother, they impulsively invite her to live with them.

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