Director: Koreeda Hirokazu
Released in 2015
As one of four sisters, I’ve always been drawn to stories about sisters. From Alcott’s Little Women and Chekhov’s Three Sisters to Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters and Diana Wynn Jones’s The Time of the Ghost, the relationship dynamics between sisters, and the studies of their various personalities are endlessly fascinating, to me.
In this film, when their estranged father dies, Sachi, Yoshino and Chika discover they have a young half-sister named Suzu. After meeting her at the funeral, the three women invite their new sister to live with them at their seaside home in Kamakura. I was half-expecting and dreading angst and sulking from 14-year-old Suzu, and plenty of hiccups as the sisters adjust to their new family member and Suzu gets used to unfamiliar surroundings, including a new school and friends. However, it’s a thankfully peaceful and smooth transition, with Suzu fitting well into her sisters’ lives and making friends easily. Any conflict and friction comes from the two older sister’s personal lives, as they struggle with romantic relationships and their own private demons. Suzu is, furthermore, forced to finally deal with her anger towards their mother, and this helps her empathise more with her sisters and to make an important choice about the future.