welcome to lobos reviews

title image

Movie Review: Still Walking

Alternate Title: You Can't Go Home Again

Story: You know how uncomfortable family reunions can be? They are often defined by family members regressing to early ages, still seething and angry over battles that happened long ago along with unresolved conflicts. This fine, but achingly slow family drama was written, directed and edited by Japanese film maker, Hirokazu Kore-eda and captures this universal story line.

The film takes place over one long, agonizing pent up day as the multi-generational family gathers for the 15th anniversary of the sudden death of the elder son. We watch (and watch) as the family prepares food, takes naps, takes walks, visits the grave, eats, prepares more food, bathes, brushes teeth and in general, avoids discussing feelings.

I admit I wanted the characters to scream at one another, vent and resolve their differences but this is not a Hollywood film and so my mindset needed to reboot. Once I accepted the fact that some family conflicts never get resolved, I relaxed and enjoyed the preparation of meals and the tiny details of the film.

This film is certainly not for everyone but if you enjoy the rituals of daily life being shown on the screen and want to spend one day in the life of a Japanese family, check it out. Everyone else should go eat some sushi.

Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id7tXouypEE

Acting: The cast is excellent with performances by: Hiroshi Abe (Ryota Yokoyama), Yui Natsukawa (Yukari), You (Chinami), Kazuya Takahashi (Nobuo), Shohei Tanaka (Yukari’s son), Kirin Kiki (Toshiko Yokoyama) and Yoshio Harada (Kyohei Yokoyama).

Trivia: Director Hirokazu Kore-eda was born in Tokyo in 1962. Originally intended to be a novelist, but after graduating from Waseda University in 1987 went on to become an assistant director at TV Man Union. Sneaked off set to film 'Lessons from a Calf' (1991). His first feature, Maboroshi no hikari (1995), based on a Teru Miyamoto novel and drawn from his own experiences whilst filming 'August Without Him (1994)', won jury prizes at Venice and Chicago. The main themes of his oeuvre include memory and loss, death and loss, and the intersection of documentary and fictional narratives. Hiroshi Abe originally started out as a fashion model for magazines before becoming one of Japan's popular movie & TV actors. Because of his height (over 6 feet) and features, the Japanese press have compared him to looking like an anime character come to life.

Predilection: None

Critters: A yellow butterfly has a big part.

Food: Yummy food preparation was a large part of the film. Think Japanese food, including, sushi, radishes, mushrooms, onions, fish, tofu and tempura corn fritters.

Sex Spectrum: None

Blatant Product Placement: None

Soundtrack: I cannot recall any music other than the record that is played as part of a crucial scene.

Opening Titles: I could not read any of the titles but they are displayed during one the second so's journey via train with his new wife and her child to the family home.

Visual Art: Details were astonishing.

Theater Audience: About 10 other people.

Weather: It was a lovely spring day.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I drifted.

Predictability Level: I was not sure what was going to happen.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No, but the film was one of the most critically acclaimed works at the Toronto, Tribeca, and San Francisco International Film Festivals.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine

Length: Under two hours.