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After the Storm 

Gentle Japanese drama about a fractured family maybe fixing itself

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In this new low-key drama from Hirokazu Koreeda (Like Father, Like Son), a fractured Japanese family spends some time together (partly due to a rainstorm) and perhaps learns some things about themselves, each other and how to get along better. There’s the elderly granny, who doesn’t want to die with grievances unresolved; her feckless son (Hiroshi Abe), who gambles away his meager salary rather than provide child support; the aggrieved ex-wife; and the boy, caught between the squabbling parents. It’s a gentle tale, with not much plot, that relies on our relating to these common domestic problems and our belief that people can change (if just a bit) and things can get better. Kirin Kiki as the grandmother is quite the scene-stealer, and her character’s sly manipulations, scarred-over heartbreaks and amusing frugality are both familiar and poignant. It’s a quiet piece, but resonant in its humanity and hope. 


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