Hirokazu Kore-Eda is a visual artist, but what stays with me are the beautiful lines he writes in his film about a wayward son who returns home to visit his aging parents one summer day with his wife and stepson. The movie is about living after the death of an important family member. The parents grow bitter, the siblings shift into their roles as not as good as might have been.
As all three generations of the family gather to honor the anniversary of the eldest son’s death, the story unfolds with the humor and sorrow of a Chekhov play. Everyday actions, like preparing meals, are visually wonderful. You can almost smell the corn as the tempura is scooped out of the pan and into the eager mouths. The acting is flawless, particularly by Kirin Kiri who plays the mother, a woman who has mastered the art of spite.