Winner of the Best Actor prize at Cannes for its young star Yûya Yagira, a twelve-year-old boy named Akira must care for his three younger siblings when their irresponsible mother leaves them in their Tokyo apartment with very little money.
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I love the development of Akira's character when he needed to act like a father to all of his siblings, and one time he act like a normal kid because that's what he supposed to do in his age. It somehow shows me how hard his struggle is.
Technically it's a very different approach for Kore-Eda, but still manages to keep his quiet fundamental nature. It can get a little too sentimental at times, but is still a very simple and well observed heart breaker. Yuki is just too cute for words!
Once I read about the true story behind this film I lost a bit of respect for it. The reality of the situation was much worse--there was a dead baby in a closet and the youngest girls (two) was beaten and killed and buried by one of the oldest boy's friends. Taking a story that has that much impact and watering it down that much is a shame. I'd like to hear the reasoning behind that.
I don't think children from this kind of broken background would really be so adorable, or so accepting of their situation for such a long time. Surely they would try to do SOMETHING? Their morals are so strong to stop them from stealing, even when they are in such dire need? I think the actions of a lot (all?) of the characters are a bit unrealistic. Someone would report this! Their friend at least? The landlord?
Thematically, a less romanticized version of Graveyard of the Fireflies. The movie does a wonderful job of peering into the lives of children and their capacity to perpetuate normalcy in the face of crisis. Also it shines a light on how we, who are not experiencing the crisis, can manage to ignore it. I am tremendously impressed with this film.