Our Little Sister
by Hector MacKenzie
THREE city-dwelling sisters effectively left to fend for themselves in their grandmother’s house after their father takes off to have an affair get a big surprise when they go to his funeral in the countryside.
Yoshino (Masami Nagasawa), Chika (Kaho) and Susu (Susu Asano), all now young, grown-up women, discover that they have a thirteen-year-old half-sister, Sachi (Haruka Ayase).
As it turns out that the introverted but adorable Sachi has played a key role in the terminal care of their father and is now left somewhat abandoned herself, the siblings make the snap decision to invite her to come and stay with them in the city.
The latest drama by Japanese director Hirokazu (I Wish was shown at the 2012 Inverness Film Festival) includes familiar touchstones such as family, love and cooking. Indeed food strings together this beautiful, leisurely film whose key moments unfold to the gentle clack of chopsticks, whether that at home, on a train or in the cosy beachfront café which holds such precious memories for the girls.
The sisters have starkly contrasting character traits ranging from the serious ‘mother’ figure herself having an affair herself with a dithery, married man; the party girl prone to ups and downs as short-term love affairs come and go and the kooky one with an ‘interesting’ taste in men. One such manages a sports shop in his spare time but dreams of returning to his first love of mountain climbing – despite the absence of a few frost-bitten fingers and toes here and there…
What happens? Over the course of a leisurely but totally absorbing two hours, we witness Sachi maturing and moving towards her own first love and members of her new-found family considering their own place in life.
Best quote? “You’re an idiot!” (Directed in a cathartic, mountain-top moment towards the father who left the sisters in the lurch during a life littered with bad decisions).
Who for? Anyone who can read subtitles and blessed with the patience to enjoy a sumptuous two-hour feel-good foreign flick.
Quick review? A lovely, slow-burning Japanese family drama well worth investing two hours of your time in. (Tip: Have your sushi ready prepared for afterwards…)