Another lovely film from the same director of the marvelous Like Father, Like Son

by Martin Hafer

According to IMDb, the director/screenplay writer Hirokazu Koreeda had YasujirĂ´ Ozu and his style of directing in mind when he made this film. I could easily see this in some ways…though not all. First, like Ozu’s films, this is a family story about people and it’s a bit slow…or, more accurately, deliberate. Second, often the director uses a camera at floor level…like Ozu. But the film isn’t strictly like this famed director, as the camera does not remain stationary and there are some outdoor shots which aren’t exactly Ozu-like. None of this is meant to be derogatory…just some observations. I actually liked the way Koreeda incorporated Ozu into his own style and the results are terrific. I also should point out that I sought this film out because I loved one of Koreeda’s other films, Like Father, Like Son, and was eager to see more of his work. And, fortunately, it just came out on Netflix in the last few days and you, too, will have a chance to see this lovely film.

Our Little Sister
Directed by
Hirokazu Koreeda
Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho
Release Date
8 July 2016
Martin’s Grade: A

The story begins with the death of three adults sisters’ step-mother. They had no love for her, as their father left their mother for this other woman. But the death also creates a problem…they have a half sister, Sozu*, from this marriage and the teenage girl now has no one…only three sisters she doesn’t even know. Well, the three decide to move into their grandmother’s old house and take care of Sozu. Through the course of the film, you learn about the three girls’ mother, the guilt Sozu is unnecessarily carrying and what a sweet girl she is…and what a welcome addition she is to the family.

There’s no way around it…Our Little Sister is a slow film. But I didn’t mind because it was handled so well–with lovely direction, some terrific acting and some very, very sweet moments…particularly at the end. Plus seeing how the angriest sister dealt with their mother was fascinating. All in all, a terrific film…but because of its pace, it’s not for everyone. If you love Ozu, you’ll clearly love this one as well.

*Throughout the film, the English captions kept calling the girl ‘Suzo’ and then ‘Suzu’ and I am not sure which one is correct.