Set in Japan, a Japanese family meets every year to remember their adolescent son killed twelve years earlier saving another young boy.
The deceased son is revered and missed presumably because his parents expected great things from him. By contrast, the parents are disappointed in his surviving brother who is kind, well intention, but failed to achieve the success that was expected from him.
Still Walking plays out at an almost real time pace which makes it feel like a real family get together. The awkward and comforting moments alternate throughout the film slowly revealing the deep dedication and deep pain that this family has endure (like so many others).
Still Walking explores both Japanese tradition as well as personal, family relationships that I suspect are universal no matter what country you are from.
Just like in ‘real life’, Still Walking offers no resolutions to the deep tension between the family members. I guess in part this is why the movie is so satisfying to me. It would be easy to resolve all the issues with the usual Hollywood clichés but the film doesn’t take that easy path.
Oh, before I end here, the film throws in a cool twist as well as raises some interesting questions around a special guest to the occasion. The man who their son saved is invited to the party. He is by no means a loser but he is one of those guys you’d say is full-of-it. He also clearly does not take care of his body and he also, clearly does not want to be there. The question raised would be something like, “How do you feel if someone you love dies and the person saved grows up to be a jerk?”
If you like foreign language (Japanese) films that explore deep personal feelings more than overt-melodrama, you’ll like this film. I did.
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