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Still Walking (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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This is not a plot focused narrative, but rather a character driven sociological examination of a typical family unit. Marking the anniversary of the death of their son, a elderly couple are joined by their other grown children for an annual ritual of respect. Their daughter, with whom they share a close relationship, is on hand to assist in the preparations with her husband and two children. But much of the event centers around the return of the other son (Ryota) accompanied by his new wife and stepson. Ryota is a wayward soul who has lived in the shadow of his dead brother and he dreads these visits home. Much of the movie takes place over cooking or over dining with shared jokes, reminiscences, and familial banter.Read more ›
I will admit, for much of the film I found myself enjoying it...yet in the back of my mind, wishing for some sort of major conflict or plot point to spice things up. That being said, I don't think that would have been appropriate and would have cheapened the deeper story being softly told in the film. The theme which is related mostly to family, loss, and ageing is best told in the gracefully slow and meditative manner in which this film presents it. Again, I must make a point to recommend watching this movie when you are in a contemplative mood, as you will get much more out of it in that state.
This is a perfect example of film as anti-escapism. Certain people watch movies to get their minds off of life...Hollywood blockbusters which focus more on special effects than character development are a perfect example of this. The idea is to 'shut off your mind and have a good time'...and there's nothing wrong with that. However, I find a film which speaks to the deeper issues in life infinitely more valuable. Still Walking is such a movie...it grows better and better upon reflection.
The audience is a witness to a very simple gathering of a family to commemorate a brother and son's untimely death.
It is minimalistic in its direction and yet acutely aware of its details. Dialogue flows effortlessly as if it were never scripted. The characters' emotions are held behind Japanese culture of modesty and humility. The characters are petty, silly, begrudging, and sad. They struggle with emotions that are universal to all families.
The pacing is perfect but some may find it slow. This isn't a hollywood movie. There are no fights, no blood, no gore, no profanity and no sex. Audiences are free to interpret their emotional reactions and never feel like your being manipulated. We don't see a build of emotion and a final cathartic explosion that leads to a happy ending. It's much more realistic than our usual main-stream family drama fare. Some scenes can make one viewer sad while another might smile wistfully.
It is beautiful in its honesty and poignant while remaining unpretentious.
The best way I can describe the emotions this film evoked was the bunched-up-throat feeling you get when you hold back your tears. It's like crying through a smile.
The film is utterly entrancing in it's simple complexity of human emotion, relationships and memories. The beautiful cinematography, the human characters and the soft and simple musical score wove a spell around me and didn't let go.
"Still Walking" is a mesmerizing visual poem.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie is a real gem. A simple story about a day in the life of a family commemorating the death of a son. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Aamir Ansari
The subtlety of the movie is its strength. It is the best depiction of family dynamics I have seen in cinema because it does not require extraordinary circumstances to highlight... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael MacArthur Bosack
love it.... very good play wright would like to find more films by Hiroshi Abe>Published 19 months ago by Mr.Miyagi54
At base, this film is about a family dealing with tragedy.
But it doesn't floor you with melodrama. Read more
I know the director from watching this film,then go back to his other works. Though I love all of his film,Still Walking remain the master piece for me.Published 24 months ago by vesarat
Very well presented exploration of the innermost thoughts and of an entire family and how they are revealed during the evening of a reunion dinner.Published on February 4, 2013 by Linda
This is an indoor family drama about a Japanese family who still have yet to come to terms over the untimely death of a promising son, years before. Read morePublished on September 14, 2012 by Caraculiambro
I hope few Japanese families are this cold. Each year they morbidly get together on the anniversary of the eldest (favorite) son's death while saving a kid from drowning (who is... Read morePublished on August 13, 2012 by mr. contrarian
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