At the heart of the film is an old house: a sprawling
family home in an almost unfeasibly picturesque seaside town. It’s in this house that
three adult sisters, Sachi, Yoshino and Chika, live together following their
parents' divorce. It’s a strange and beguiling place, and the sisters seem
frozen in time, caught between the security of the family life and the responsibilities
At the beginning of the film, the trio attend their
father’s funeral where they meet Suzu, the half-sister they never knew they
had. It’s here that the story begins in earnest; Suzu returns home with them and
is gradually drawn into the rhythms of their life. The film progresses at an
unhurried pace (to put it mildly), following the sisters at home and at work, allowing
a web of fears, rivalries and, above all, affections to slowly spin.
While the film is named for Suzu, it’s Sachi who comes
closest to being its central character. Played to perfection by Haruka Ayase,
she’s the de facto head of the family. There’s a toughness to her, and you can
see why; following her parent’s marital breakdown, she was left to care for her
sisters. But below this façade of stability is a fear of moving on, and a dependence
on an established role within the family. All this, as much in the film, is
revealed with masterful subtlety.
It’s to the cast and crew’s credit, though, that no
character comes to dominate the film. Many of its most affecting moments, from
the shared meals that punctuate the story to the firework display towards it
close, are ensemble performances. There will be those who complain that the
film is languid, and others who suggest that it strays too often into
saccharine territory. But it’s so beautifully shot and carefully assembled
that you can forgive it these shortcomings.
It's easy to get lost in the film's rich palette, but if you're looking for a yet more immersive experience, make sure to book for Curzon Bloomsbury's Edible Cinema event.
|What||Our Little Sister film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
15 Apr 16 – 15 May 16, Event times vary
|Price||£detemined by cinema|
|Website||Click here to visit the film's IMDB page|