AFTER THE STORM (UMI YORI MO MADA FUKAKU) (director/writer: Hirokazu Koreeda; screenwriter: story by Koreeda; cinematographer: Yutaka Yamazaki; editor: Hirokazu Koreeda;; music: Hanaregumi; cast: Hiroshi Abe (Ryota), Kirin Kiki (Yoshiko), Taiyô Yoshizawa (Shingo),  Maki Yoko (Kyoko Shiraishi),  Satomi Kobayashi (Chinatsu Shinoda); Runtime: 118; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Matsuzaki Kaoru, Yose Akihiko, Taguchi Hijiri; Film Movement; 2016-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)

"A most satisfying sweet domestic comedy."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda ("I Wish"/"Shoplifters") heads down an Ozu trajectory, as he playfully directs and writes a most satisfying sweet domestic comedy that's surprisingly has a bit of a sting.

Ryôta Shinoda (Hiroshi Abe) is an inarticulate but award-winning novelist who stopped writing some time ago and has become a loser gambler. He now works as a private detective for a local hustler he once researched for a novel. By acting immature as a family man, his marriage dissolved. His understanding wife (Yôko Maki), now with a rich boyfriend, turns down his offers of reconciliation and is unhappy with his failure to pay child support for their gentle little boy (Taiyô Yoshizawa).

Ryôta heeds the advice to try and get back with his ex given him by his wisecracking, elderly widower, level-headed mother (Kirin Kiki). But a house visit by the family to mom's cramped apartment during a storm doesn't work.

The tender human interest story tries to tell us how for even ordinary folks it's difficult to keep a family together. The filmmaker offers no answers for what makes a relationship click except to be observant, even over the small things.

I immensely liked this perceptive lighthearted film for all that it was and all that it hinted at. It's Ozu-like in the way it views the family and in dealing with life's basic problems. The film takes place over a few days, but reveals the frustration and desires of three generations and how it's the children who are usually the most hurt from a divorce.

REVIEWED ON 5/31/2018       GRADE: B+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"