Our Little Sister
Based on Umimachi Diary, a manga by Akimi Yoshida, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest subtle and moving exploration of family ties centers on three twentysomething sisters, Sachi (Haruka Ayase), Yoshino (Masami Nagasawa), and Chika (Kaho), who live together in their grandmother’s house. Traveling to the countryside to attend the funeral of their estranged father, they discover that they have a teenage half-sister, Suzu (Suzu Hirose). Quickly sizing up their stepmother as someone unfit to take care of the young girl, the trio impulsively invite their newfound sibling to come and live with them. Suzu soon settles in and her elder sisters’ placid but quietly discontented lives continue as before, but her presence—and the unexpected arrival of their long-absent mother Miyako (Shinobu Otake), who departed 15 years ago leaving Sachi to raise her younger sisters—finally bring into the open the three women’s unresolved feelings about being abandoned by their parents and the frustrations that burden their unfulfilled lives. As ever with Kore-eda, the performances are beautifully understated and down to earth and the filmmaking is delicate and graceful. A Sony Pictures Classics release.