Upon meeting Koreeda some years ago, I meekly requested his autograph on my DVD of "After Life". He seemed to blush but bowed and signed the case with care. Just before handing it back to me, he paused thoughtfully and embellished his signature with a smiley face. Only a person who exudes that kind of gentle kindness and light whimsy could craft a film like this with sincerity, not schmaltz. :-)
Miserable wretch that I am, I remain partial to Kore-eda's bleaker films (at least to the best of them, Maborosi), but I both loved watching and, well, kind of needed to watch Our Little Sister. I was reminded of the gentlest, least plotted Studio Ghibli films--I wasn't surprised to read in the credits that it's a manga adaptation--full of rich, restorative feeling that regularly risks but rarely succumbs to treacle.
How could i never got interested in Koreada`s work? I think it was because i was a child and not mature enough. This is my most beloved Asian film so far, has a long-forgotten touch once every cinephile had known as Ozu touch. Although you can easily trace Kore-eda`s mastery to Ozu, He has always confessed that he is more obsessed with Naruse style.
Compared to other movies by Kore-Eda that I had a chance to watch during a review of his work at cineclub in Milan, "Our Little Sister" is the most accessible to the big public: less hermetic and more paced. Yet nothing in the director's style gets lost and the movie deliveres a very strong feeling of warmth to the viewer.