When the father of sisters Shachi, Yoshino and Chika passed away, they went to the funeral despite having not seen their father for ages. They also meet their half-sister, Suzu, his daughter from his second marriage. On a whim, they ask Suzu to live with them, which she agreed to.
The film revolves around the lives and relationships of the sisters. Although none of them play a main character, the story is mostly focused on Shachi, as well as Suzu. The director, Hirokazu Koreeda is known for his character driven films, and while I have yet to see more of his work, I think this film doesn’t differ from the subjects he usually tackle. The story of the sisters is told in an elegant way; the rural setting is reflective on the tone and pace of the film. As the film progresses, the audience gets to know the characters – from the uptight controlling form of Shachi, down to Suzu reconnecting with her father’s past. The film doesn’t pack an emotional punch, but the storytelling is delightful.
I’m only familiar with the works of Haruka Ayase and Masami Nagasawa, but along with Kaho and Suzu Hirose, the four women give complimentary performances. Each of their characters are different from each other, but the film establishes the development of the relationship of the sisters, and facing their past. The supporting characters add a bit of substance to the film.
If you are a fan of the director, or wouldn’t mind character-narrative stories, this is a great film to watch. It might be a bit slow, nor does the plot go anywhere, but when filmed in a manner befitting the story, it’s stunning.
Original Title: Umimachi Diary
Cast: Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda