There are so wonderful little moments in ‘Our Little Sister’ that they add up to a great little something, even if sometimes that something is a molehill of nothing. Yes, that kind of sounds like a riddle. Director Horekazu Kore-eda delivers a film filled with poignancy and sentimentality that always feel quite right. Just like the well-balanced Japanese seafood curry that they cooking the film, the film always feels so right when it could have gone so treacly. It is a story of three sisters (all wonderful performances by Masam Nagasawa, Kaho, and especially Haruka Ayashe as the eldest sister) who take in their newly-discovered youngest sister, an offspring from the relationship that broke their family. When the sister (Suzu Hirose) arrives, the dynamics between the sister subtly change, and we follow as each of their stories give us life lessons on how we form our families when we find ours broken. To be truthful, not much happens here, but I suspect Kore-eda is more interested in how these characters drive rather than where they are going.
It is refreshing for me to watch a movie about modern Japanese life that isn’t Tokyo-centric. The wonderful seaside location lends a rich country feel, and the touch is always gentle – nothings get hammered in your face. I found myself very touched at the end, as the film touches on issues such as mortality and what we leave behind. This film was an official entry at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and apparently won a jury prize .