After the Storm ★★★★½

Twenty-four hours in the lives of three generations of an ordinary, if somewhat fractured, lower middle-class Japanese family. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda has no peer in world cinema in creating humanistic narratives about realistic people living normal, everyday lives. His stories are so simple and artless on the surface; but they inevitably say more about the universal human condition than seems possible. There isn't a moment in this film that feels forced or unnecessary, despite its slow pace and lack of cinematic artifice. In that way his films remind me of that other master of the ordinary, the late, lamented Edward Yang (Yi Yi). I left the theater amazed by how such an unsparing look at flawed characters could somehow be so uplifting.

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