Review by gloria wong
The latest from one of the world's great humanist filmmakers, Japan's Kore-eda Hirokazu (Nobody Knows) is, like most of the director's body of work, a finely crafted small-scaled drama centred around grief and loss. The film captures 24 hours in the life of the Yokoyama family as they reunite on the 15th anniversary of the death of eldest son Junpei (who died saving a young boy from drowning). Before I completely turn you away from the film, Still Walking is an often funny, startlingly honest film that happens to be about a family suspended in grief.
Kyohei is a retired doctor who regrets not having a son who followed in his footsteps. Toshiko busies herself with food preparation and light conversation in an attempt to hide the intense anger fueling her grief. Only daughter Chinami seems a bit flakey at first but she ultimately proves to be the most well-adjusted and observant member of her family. Then there's remaining son Ryota, a secretly failing art restorer whose recent marriage to a widowed single mother seems to have disappointed his parents even further.
Nothing much happens in Still Walking but its moments add up to a tremendously satisfying whole. It might be the most realistic portrayal of adult familial relationships I've ever seem on film. Filled with warmth without sentimentality and truth without sanctimony, Still Walking is another nearly perfect drama to add to Kore-eda's impressive filmography.
Kore-eda Hirokazu | Japan | 2008 | 114min