Amir’s review published on Letterboxd:
rest in peace Kirin Kiki, and thank you.
this movie really touched me in a lot of ways movies don't. it got straight to my heart about the nature of family and as I sit in this Starbucks writing my thoughts down on my phone that's currently charging, i can't help but think about my own family and those that I truly do consider a family, most of whom share no blood relation to me. But in spite of that (or maybe because of it), there is always a bond and a connection that people will have to those they care and look after. Sometimes those bonds and connections come from unhealthy places and sometimes they form from noble desires. Regardless, we do our best for those we care for moving forward and these characters you grow to connect with over the course of 2hrs exemplify that. They come together as a unit to heal from severe loneliness, broken homes, old age, and the trials and tribulations of real life. Each character Kore-eda forms and presents to us feels utterly human and present. And when life wears down on them on their own, it's their combined effort to come together as a family that pulls them through until it can no longer sustain itself, which is a human tragedy that Kore-eda and similar peers can only accomplish. A lot of this movie can be seen coming from a mile away, narratively speaking, but that's a small price to pay when the trade up are beautiful characters and their engaging dynamics.
Far more than any American counterpart, Kore-eda's view of family is remarkably crafted and essential; his voice subtle but vital. It's not as peak level good as Still Walking (what is), but it's strong enough to stand beside it.
shout out to the fam who help me keep it together.