After the Storm Screen 25 articles

After the Storm


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  • The results are uneven, ranging from the spellbinding to the overly familiar. After the Storm tips so far toward the latter that it's hard to glean much enjoyment or insight from its unwaveringly polite, carefully modulated story of a family in not-quite crisis. Understatement, restraint, and quiet wisdoms are usually virtues, but even they can become grating through sheer overuse.

  • The structure of After The Storm approximates two episodes of TV, with a first half that’s built like a pilot, and a second like a draggy bottle episode, with the primary cast holed up in Yoshiko’s apartment during a typhoon. One can’t help but think that this opening hour is more memorable; its plays Koreeda’s mildness and resistance to external conflict against his jealous protagonist, who seems to catch break after break only to screw up again.

  • Kore-eda looks sensitively at the deep roots of unquenched anguish, but he constructs the characters too neatly and the situations too precisely for the drama to seem like anything but a well-meaning lesson. His calm and precise images stick close to the script, divulging its meaning at once and leaving little room for thought and wonder.

  • It's not that this is a bad film. Even a middling Koreeda effort is still several leagues better than most work produced in any given year. But compared with Korreda's best work, After the Storm is strangely muted and inert, a film with a rather schematic script and very little visual style. Much like an undergraduate term paper, everything is too tightly controlled by one dominant thesis and, perhaps more frustrating, a single metaphor.

  • It uses some of the same actors [as Still Walking], with Hiroshi Abe again playing Kirin Kiki’s adult son; this time, it’s the relationship with Abe’s character, an inveterate fuck-up, and his own young son (Taiyo Yoshizawa), that’s front and center. None of the above is particularly exciting (which is why I’ve waited until now to write about it), but After The Storm, in particular, is worth keeping an eye out for down the road, especially for Still Walking fans.

  • [Kore-eda keeps the story] on a slow simmer until the last act, which is sprinkled with small epiphanies about our humble existence. Featuring an uncomplicated plot and easily relatable personalities, this is a divertissement compared with the thematic heft of “Like Father, Like Son.” Still its gentle contemplation of life’s disappointments and human inadequacy may draw new recruits beyond the director-writer’s euro-arthouse base.

  • A characteristically gentle, affectionate and wryly amusing domestic drama from Hirokazu Koreeda, this time centred on a formerly successful novelist working as private detective to support his gambling addiction and hoping, when he finds himself stranded with his ex-wife and his son at his mother’s home during a typhoon, to reunite with them. If the film drags a little in the middle section, it more than makes up for it in the final act.

  • Hirokazu Kore-eda’s After the Storm, a sweet tale of a gambling-addict novelist and his young son who are brought together by a typhoon battering their home town, was the most significant exception here, but none of the 20-odd other films [in Un Certain Regard] were truly outstanding.

  • The film gathers a cumulative force that’s easy to discount, but its melancholy effects, like those that define Kore-eda’s most substantial recent efforts, are potent enough to linger in the mind.

  • Kore-ada has explored the father-son dynamic in his previous work, most notably Still Walking (2008) and Like Father, Like Son (2013), and brings a gentle, humanist approach to the material. The film was shot in and around a low-rent housing compound in Kiyosi, where Kore-eda grew up, and there's a palpable sense of connection to it. There's also a surprising chemistry between the mother and the wife, who are bound by their common love for an impossible man.

  • Filmed concurrently with Kore-eda’s Our Little Sister, which was released in the U.S. last year, After the Storm offers a lighthearted balance between hope and pragmatism, returning Kore-eda to the same territory as 2011’s I Wish.

  • [The second half is] set during a typhoon that has forced them to wait out the night at Grandma’s Tokyo apartment and confront their simmering conflicts...Before this productive standstill, the first half of the film has a more conventional forward motion... If these early passages feel uncommonly unmoored for Kore-eda, it’s because he’s at his best in moments of togetherness, an artist who believes in the power of family without advocating for a return to the womb.

  • Seems like Kore-eda's Ozu rips come and go like the seasons these days—that is, each of his family drama, much like each spring, is both immediately comparable and subtly distinct to the ones before it. It won't take you long to realize that the "storm" of the title is a divorce, but Kore-eda's perspective pacifies schmaltzy melodrama into melancholy and blissful observation. Not one of his best, but well worth it.

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    Sight & Sound: Nick Pinkerton
    April 28, 2017 | June 2017 Issue (pp. 52-53)

    Where many a contemporary reputation is built on an appearance of daring covering a hedged-bet complacency, Koreeda's lovable, poignant little films are, conversely, more difficult viewing than at first blush they might appear. This charmer is a catalogue of the quotidian humiliations endured by a middle-aged child, scruffing up an expensive pair of cleats for his son so he can swing a discount... If any of this can be called reassuring, it's the cold comfort of saying, "It's only life, anyway."

  • Kore-Eda's stories, such as they are, unfold in unlikely ways. He doesn't play so much with structure, but with focus: He'll allow a scene to go on and on before slipping in a crucial bit of narrative information that leads to something else. In the hands of a lesser director, that could result in tedium, but Kore-eda's love for his characters, his ability to imbue an exchange or glance with warmth and humor, keeps us watching.

  • It’s hard to think of another filmmaker who maps the emotional landscape of divorce-torn families as precisely as Kore-eda, who always steers his characters toward reconciliation and understanding without saccharine. Predicated on the revelatory power of shared meals and small talk, “After the Storm” builds to a scene of three people running around in a heavy downpour — a wistful, funny and indelible vision of a family coming together to chase an impossibly happy dream.

  • As usual with Kore-eda, everything flows in simple, unforced fashion, with every shot trimly composed and expertly timed. The emphasis falls on the actors, particularly as they’re captured in mundane activities. Ryota’s mother and sister are first seen writing thank-you notes to people who came to the funeral; he swills in fast food and throws away money on lottery tickets.

  • It is not the dialogue that makes the film so moving. Rather, it is that Kore-eda finds subtle and poetic ways to show us the unfathomable hurt and incomprehensible love humans are capable of. We wound as well as we heal and no matter how painful the melancholy in his films can be, Kore-eda is a filmmaker in whose hands I would happily entrust my emotions every time.

  • The emotions burbling beneath the film's surface are tremendous, but kept at bay by the bittersweet ironies of daily life: Over the course of one long night, all four characters have betrayed wildly different expectations for how the tempest will shake out.

  • Mr. Kore-eda, whose most noteworthy family dramas include “Still Walking” (2009) and “Like Father, Like Son” (2014), works in a quiet cinematic register, and the slightest error in tone could upend the whole enterprise. Slow-paced, sad, rueful and sometimes warmly funny, “After the Storm” is one of his sturdiest, and most sensitive, constructions.

  • Kore-eda brings a similar warmth to his deeply flawed characters, allowing all of them moments of humor amid the melancholy, viewing them with a compassion that never strays into the sentimental. There are no extreme reversals for these characters at the end, only the incremental yet valuable progress that comes with accepting one’s lot in life and making a conscious effort to improve it.

  • Watch and listen closely and worlds of deeply felt, awkwardly expressed passion will unfold in and around a cramped apartment in a nondescript high-rise that has aged along with the inhabitants who raised families there... As always, Kor-eda offers little by way of plot. Instead he builds the dynamic between his characters out of an accumulating wealth of seemingly banal detail.

  • ...The movie brilliantly deconstructs this self-destructive cycle over time. It patiently strips away male delusions of grandeur and focuses intensely on the responsibility of being mindful. “I wonder why it is men can’t love the present,” Yoskiko rhetorically asks late in the film. With this comment she essentially becomes a proxy for Kore-eda himself, who has spent his entire career reminding audiences to live in the moment. It’s a poignant lesson that bears repeating over and over again.

  • The movie finds astonishing nuance, strangeness and often hilarity in situations where life is at its most heart-rending. Among its range of thematic touchpoints are the sudden death of a parent... the realisation that you will never be as great or successful as you were destined to be, the acceptance of your part in the unraveling of a marriage which has undoubtedly scarred your estranged child for life. Yes, it does sound depressing as hell on paper, but it really isn’t.

  • Hirokazu Koreeda’s bittersweet comedy about three generations of a Japanese family is a gentle delight... For her part, Kiki is wonderful – her performance as the wisecracking granny is almost too broad for the laconic naturalism of the rest of the film, but rather than unbalance each scene, she somehow manages to galvanise them.

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