After the Storm ★★★½

I understand that Koreeda is the kind of filmmaker who makes a movie and then another one and then another one and then another one... but I hope he doesn't enter Woody Allen's wasteland of diminishing returns.

AFTER THE STORM is a fine film, and I would have been very impressed with it had it come from an unknown or younger director, but all things considered its pretty slight and surprisingly feel-goody and idealistic when it perhaps should be realistic and authentic.

Eventually it does find a way to subtly suggest what it has been going for, but you spend the movie waiting for the final note to be hit and it doesn't happen until the final moments; I don't mind watching beautiful framings and great actors perform subtle melodrama, its very soothing and pleasing both for the mind and eye, but Koreeda can be so much more dynamic in every little moment of every little scene.

I thought his previous film, OUR LITTLE SISTER, was a step down but AFTER THE STORM, while not technically much worse, is much less ambitious than even that, and generally much broader and less molded than what you'd ever imagine Koreeda would let himself get away with.