Aoi Miyazaki plays Sachiko, a thirteen year-old girl living with her depressed mother. The film starts by showing her mother’s suicide attempt, a scene that pretty much sets the tone, both content-wise and stylistically.
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There's nothing necessarily wrong with making a movie about the melancholy lives of schoolgirls, a subject explored by current Japanese cinema with disturbing frequency, it's just that I don't care about Japanese schoolgirls. This elicits the usual adjectives: it's "sensitive," "restrained," "emotionally true" and whatever else one cares to toss at it, but the state of current Japanese film continues to depress me.