TIFF 2016 Movie Review: AFTER THE STORM (Japan 2016) ***

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

AFTER THE STORM (Japan 2016) ***
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Yôko Maki, Taiyô Yoshizawa

Review by Gilbert Seah

AFTER THE STORM is Kore-da at his mildest ilmmaking. Don’t expect the drama of LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON or the imagination of AFTER LIFE his two best films. Yet AFTER THE STORM is not without its pleasures.

On the surface it is a simple film, a kind look at a loser. Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is a failed writer, a third-rate detective, and a hardened gambler. As the film’s title seems to suggest, the salient moments of his life have already passed before the beginning of the story.

He won an important literary award when he was young, but his promising career vanished into thin air. Now, his father has died and his wife has left him. He adores his young son, but seems resigned to his position on the sidelines of the boy’s life.

One night, when a typhoon strikes, the broken family is forced to spend the night together at Ryota’s mother’s home. The ensuing interaction that is both bittersweet and tender forms the film’s highlight. “I never want to grow up to be like you.”, the son says. “I will always love them. They are my family.”

The father says at one point. Great performances here not only from Abe but from Kirin Kiki as Ryota’s mother, who is so funny she steals every scene she is in.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwJcIoFuhto

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