Unfolding largely over the course of a daylong gathering of a family still mourning the loss of its eldest son, Kore-eda’s fine-tuned elegy—full of personalizing details and the sense memories of childhood—was a direct response to the death of his mother, whom he nursed in the last two years of her life. Kore-eda grants his characters no epiphanies, but allows them moments of dawning awareness. Resentments go unaired and problems remain unsolved, but they are privately recognized and even understood—which is, at least, one definition of family love—in this quietly anguished domestic drama.

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters opens on November 23. Get tickets here.