Tony's Take

OUR LITTLE SISTER review

our-little-sister-new-posterFamily Knows No Bounds

From acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda, “Our Little Sister” focuses on three young sisters, Sachi, Yoshino, and Chika, living in Kamakura, Japan; based on the manga series “Umimachi Diary”bu Akimi Yoshida.  As they are living on their own, they learn of their father’s, who they haven’t seen in over 15 years, passing.  Looking for some closure, the sisters attend his funeral; where they meet their young step-sister Suzu Asano.  With Suzu already without her mother and now her father, the three girls invite her to come live with them in Kamakura.  With Suzu being the youngest, it’s up to the three elder girls to raise her and welcome her into the family home; which means signing her up for school, helping her get on the soccer team, and bringing her into the family.  The rest of the film focuses on their lives, as they are faced with both good and bad situations; never forgetting they have each other.

Haruka Ayase plays the eldest sister, Sachi Kōda.  Masami Nagasawa plays the middle sister, Yoshino Kōda.  Kaho plays the youngest sister, Chika Kōda.  Suzu Hirose plays the young step-sister, Suzu Asano.  Ryo Kase is a character named Sakashita.  Kirin Kiki plays Fumiyo Kikuchi, their great aunt.  Lily Franky plays Sen-ichi Fukuda.  Jun Fubuki plays Sachiko Ninomiya, their mother.  Shinichi Tsutsumi and Shinobi Otake play Kazuya Shiina and Miyako Sasaki.

Shown entirely in subtitles, “Our Little Sister” is a beautiful portrayal of life, happiness, and family; showing that love has no cultural separation.  The film’s four main leads, Ayase, Nagasawa, Kaho, and Hirose, have unspeakable chemistry, leading the audience to feel as if they are watching a real familial portrayal.  One can only hope that our society would react to learning about and welcoming-in a new step sister; showing as much grace and kindness as the women in the film.  The film is filled with beautiful scenery, whether it’s the city life or the stunning landscapes of the countryside; the film shows it all.  “Our Little Sister” will certainly go under-the-radar for most, which is a shame.  Such a beautifully-constructed film shouldn’t be judged by its language barriers or use of subtitles.  The film certainly opened my eyes to Japanese culture.  While showing plenty of living customs, “Our Little Sister” also serves as a lesson on the culture of death in Japan; be it from the funeral to what they do with the body after it all.  “Our Little Sister” has a run time 128 minutes and has so much emotion packed-into the film that you hardly notice.  The film is one of true beauty, a piece of art that deserves to be seen!

“Our Little Sister” follows three sisters as they learn of another distant sister, possibly joining their lives.  The film features raw and authentic emotion, a lesson on Japanese culture, and truly heartfelt human interaction.  If you are heading to the movies this weekend, go see the beautiful artwork of “Our Little Sister”!!     

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OUR LITTLE SISTER is rated PG for thematic elements and brief language, in theaters AUGUST 26TH!

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