Failed writer turned private detective Ryôta (Hiroshi Abe) rifles through his late father’s possessions, hoping to find something to sell. But it soon becomes clear that his only inheritance is a ruinous gambling habit that threatens his relationship with his own son. Hirokazu Koreeda’s bittersweet comedy about three generations of a Japanese family is a gentle delight. It’s a film that makes eloquent use of the architecture, emotional and physical, of the family home. Lanky Ryôta is permanently hunched in his mother’s (the incomparable Kirin Kiki) cluttered, cramped apartment – a reminder both of his failure to provide for her and of his discomfort with the way his life turned out. For her part, Kiki is wonderful – her performance as the wisecracking granny is almost too broad for the laconic naturalism of the rest of the film, but rather than unbalance each scene, she somehow manages to galvanise them.
After the Storm review – bittersweet family comedy
Three generations clash in Hirokazu Koreeda’s gentle, witty film
Wendy Ide is the Observer's deputy film critic