Monday, August 10, 2015

MIFF 2015 : Our Little Sister / Umimachi Diary

My third and final movie from the Melbourne International Film Festival. Our Little Sister is yet another feather on Koreeda Hirokazu's (Like Father, Like Son) cap. I went for this movie for Koreeda and Kaho but its Ayase Haruka who steals the show as the oldest of 3 siblings who finds that their recently deceased father has a daughter from his second marriage being left with his widow from his third.

Ayase Haruka has the hardest job as the stoic, motherly oldest sister who is having an affair with Tsutsumi Shinichi although her family was torn apart by her father's adultry which lead to the birth of the half sister Suzu. Its nothing  we haven't seen before in jdoramas but its done with such subtlety and deft touch that I could feel every conflicted emotion on her face.

For sukebes like me, Nagasawa Masami shows a lot of skin and legs as per her contract but not having to carry the movie, she does a great job as the sexy sister who keeps getting mixed up with the wrong guys and loves alcohol. Kaho plays the youngest sister with weird interests and is mostly there for thejokes. Masami and her legs should never be asked to carry a movie/jdorama by themselves. Our Little Sister is a slow, well paced movie about sisters living together and the emotional scars they carry that barely show.

I just love Koreeda's directing. To me, he is the actors' director. He allows the actors to breath and for the moment to simmer. Never too long, never to short and always capturing every subtle change in facial expression. The camera work is absolutely striking and really makes me want to go Kamakura. The best thing about Our Little Sister is the chemistry between the sisters and that it never descends into melodrama.

I'm giving it a must watch with the catch that you've got to enjoy his brand of nothing exciting really happens. Koreeda is just interested to capture the magic of people reacting to certain situations. Sometimes its awesome like in Like Father, Like Son and sometimes its just a complete bore like I Wish. I'm glad it turned out to be the former and the crowd at the Comedy Theatre applauded at the end.


Shane said...

Will definitely watch this when I can. Thanks for the review!

junny said...

Glad Ayase did well in this film. I almost couldn't watch her after Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumimasu, even though it wasn't her fault Fukushi Sota was awful. But I'm glad she bounced back strongly.

Akiramike said...

As long as Ayase has a good director/script, I don't think she can put a foot wrong but she's not the 'elevate a generic script to good' level of actress.

HH said...

I, on the other hand, love Kiseki; it's probably my 3rd favorite Koreeda movie behind Afterlife and Maboroshi no hikari, but didn't enjoy Like father like son as much (that being said, I still liked it, but I think it was a lot of "plot" for my liking). Glad to hear that you liked Umimachi, I can't wait to see Ayase, Masami & Kaho in a movie together. And yes,

Masami and her legs should never be asked to carry a movie/jdorama by themselves.

absolutely. Them legs are nice to look at though.