Kore-edas back in form with After The Storm

AFTER THE STORM (Hirokazu Kore-eda). 117 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (March 17). See Listing. Rating: NNNNFollowing his manga adaptation Our.


AFTER THE STORM (Hirokazu Kore-eda). 117 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (March 17). See Listing. Rating: NNNN

Following his manga adaptation Our Little Sister, Hirokazu Kore-eda is back writing his own material for After The Storm, a drama about precise emotional shifts in a splintered family unit. Its what most of his movies are about, Our Little Sister included, but thats why I love him.

Set mostly in the suburbs of Tokyo, After The Storm zeroes in on the perpetually weary Ryota (Hiroshi Abe), who wrote a well-received book 15 years ago and has been researching the next one ever since.

At least thats what he tells people really, hes slouching through a job as a private detective, wasting money on every form of gambling available to him and worried that his ex-wife (Yoko Maki) and son (Taiyo Yoshizawa) are falling for a new suitor.

In the hopes of sparking a reconciliation, Ryota conspires to get everyone together in his widowed mothers (Kiki Kirin) cramped apartment to see what happens. It does not go smoothly, thanks only in part to an approaching typhoon.

Kore-edas long been drawn to stories of damaged relationships and broken trust, so After The Storm occasionally feels like a remix of 2008s Still Walking, 2011s I Wish and 2013s Like Father, Like Son but never in a derivative way.

Instead, thanks to a subplot about Ryotas work, were left with the sense that similar stories, with just minor variations in the details, are happening everywhere. As for this particular story, its a rich, thoughtful character study that stands with its authors finest work.

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