Three sisters live together in their late grandmother's house in the city of Kamakura. They have lived together since their dad left home for another woman and their mum imitated her husband by running off with another man. Sachi, 29, the oldest Koda sister, a nurse at the local hospital, acts as a substitute mother to Yoshino, 22, and Chika, 19. One day, the threesome learns of the death of their "traitor" father and it is only halfheartedly that they go to his funeral. But in Yamagata something unexpected happens: they meet their half-sister Suzu, 13, there and immediately fall for the spell of this exquisite young creature. Sensing that Yoko, her father's widow, will not be a fit guardian, Sachi invites Suzu to move in with them.Written by
Haruka Ayase, who played the eldest daughter Sachi, is know in Japan for her open, bubbly and sunny personality who is quick to laugh. When Koreeda met her, he came away with an impression that Ayase was more of a "Woman of Showa Period (1926 to 1989)" and close to Oz's muse, Setsuko Hara with her quiet and introspective beauty, elegance and grace. With this in mind, he wanted to shoot the film in style after Ozu. During the filming of dining scene when sisters discussed their father's death, he positioned the dining table in a manner Ozu had used - having the table set perpendicular to the line of tatami mattress. However, Koreeda felt the perpendicular composition to be too formal and restrictive. So he decided to move dining table and actresses around a little off horizontal to make the scene more natural and every-day family life-like, ended up much closer to what Director Naruse did with his composition. See more »
When the four sisters are having their lunch with Chika's boyfriend at their house, in the interior shot looking outward, all the noodles on the main plate have been eaten.
In the next scene, an exterior scene looking inward to the house, Sachi reaches down and takes the plate away but Chika reaches up and takes several noodles off the plate with her chopsticks. See more »
Based on Akimi Yoshida's josei manga 'Umimachi Diary', 'Our Little Sister' is a women-centred, Japanese chick-flick.
Adult sisters Sachi (the serious one), Yoshino (the sexy partying one) and Chika (the comedy relief one), abandoned by their father when they were just small children, live in the large, old house turned over to them by their mother when she too abandoned them as teenagers. Although men feature in all their lives, it is to each other they are most loyal.
One day comes news that their estranged father has died, and the three sisters travel to attend his funeral. While there they meet their step-sister, thirteen year-old Suzu, product of the affair that led to their father's desertion. Suzu's own mother has also died, and on impulse the sisters invite her to live with them. The film then follows the quartet over the next several months of relationship troubles (Sachi), work troubles (Yoshino), boyfriend-wanting-to-climb-a-mountain troubles (Chika) and mixed-sex football (Suzu).
It's all very feel-good: Suzu, for example, exhibits none of the stroppiness one would usually associate with a teenaged girl, docilely doing what she's told by Sachi (who in real life would very much be the target of "You're not my mother!"-type teenage flounces) and easily making nice, well-behaved friends at her new school. Meanwhile, Sachi and her estranged mother reach an understanding, and even the death of a close friend is portrayed as life-affirming, with much talk of cherry blossom and beauty. And the soundtrack is always waiting, ever-ready, to pounce with surging strings at moments of great emotion (of which there are many).
But feel-good is not necessarily bad. If you want to watch a film that isn't in any way challenging, with engaging performances, signposted plot developments and a little humour - in short, a film to relax to - you could do worse than this.
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