This must be one of the most beautiful Japanese films that takes place in the winter season. Although the story has many of Yoshida's familiar thematic elements, the tone of the film is rather warm, compassionate and - I dare say - comical. The melodramatic story is told in a straightforward manner, but there is a deep sense of irony. This may be a good starting point if you are new to Yoshida's works.
On songe à la tourmente fiévreuse qui balaie les protagonistes de certains films de Bergman dont le questionnement et les crises relationnelles rejoignent puissamment la profonde solitude des paumés existentiels de Yoshida, avec toujours cette magnifique prédominance hiératique de la femme face aux médiocres atermoiements masculins ..... www.cinefiches.com
The closest Yoshida gets to "cute". A lot of people seem to think this film is made up of "abstract characters in minimalist situations". I actually think the characters are conventional, it's the situations that are abstract. That's what we learn from most Yoshida films, even those that are "normal" can reach levels of psychological disarray, if only placed in the right conditions.