Our Little Sister

July 9th, 2016


Our Little Sister

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Release Year: 2015

Rating: 7.5/10 ( voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Stars: Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho

Three sisters live together in their late grandmother's house in the city of Kamakura. They have lived together since their dad left home for another woman. They have lived together since their mum imitated her husband by running off with another man... Sachi, 29, the oldest Koda sister, a nurse at the local hospital, acts as a substitute mother to Yoshino, 22, and Chika, 19. One day, the threesome learns of the death of their "traitor" father and it is only halfheartedly that they go to his funeral. But in Yamagata something unexpected happens: they meet their half-sister Suzu, 13, there and immediately fall for the spell of this exquisite young creature. Sensing that Yoko, her father's widow, will not be a fit guardian. Sachi invites Suzu to move to Kamakura home...

Writers: Akimi Yoshida, Hirokazu Koreeda, Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho, Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho, Suzu Hirose, Ryô Kase, Ryôhei Suzuki, Takafumi Ikeda, Kentarô Sakaguchi, Ohshirô Maeda, Midoriko Kimura, Yûko Nakamura, Jun Fubuki, Kazuaki Shimizu, Kaoru Hirata, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Haruka Ayase - Sachi Kôda
Masami Nagasawa - Yoshino Kôda
Kaho - Chika Kôda
Suzu Hirose - Suzu Asano
Ryô Kase - Yoshimi Sakashita
Ryôhei Suzuki - Dr. Yasuyuki Inoue
Takafumi Ikeda - Sanzo Hamada
Kentarô Sakaguchi - Tomoaki Fujii
Ohshirô Maeda - Fûta Ozaki
Midoriko Kimura - Hideko Takano
Yûko Nakamura - Yôko Asano
Jun Fubuki - Sachiko Ninomiya
Kazuaki Shimizu - Toshio Iida
Kaoru Hirata -
Shin'ichi Tsutsumi - Dr. Kazuya Shiina


Official Website: Official site | Official Site |

Country: Japan

Language: Japanese

Release Date: 3 Jan 2015

Filming Locations: Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan

Technical Specs


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User Review


Rating: 8/10

This is the 4th movie on family drama centering around children I have seen by director Hirokazu Koreeda. I love them all and I would say only until this one did I see some resemblance of him to Yasujiro Ozu, Japanese classic humanistic director.

Whatever it resembles or echoes, I quite enjoy the tranquil life in Kamakura, especially family life taking place in an old Japanese house with porch and a plum tree and a little storage under the wood floor. Any movie with an old house like that (such as "I Wish (Kiseki)," "My SO has got Depression," "Wolf Children," "Postcard" and of course "And Then (Sorekara)" would instantly calm me down.

Yet behind this tranquil life, there is family trauma where three girls have been abandoned by their mother after their father left for another woman, a similar theme appears in "Nobody Knows" by the same director. What is different though, the Koda sisters have been brought up by their maternal grandparents in the coastal and historical town of Kamakura, 50 km south-west of Tokyo until they passed away.

When the movie begins, their grandparents are long gone and the girls have been living in the family house and taking care of themselves for seven years. News come from northeastern Japan that their father died and they have to attend his funeral, where they meet their half-sister, 15-year-old Suzu (Suzu Hirose) for the first time. Suzu has been living with her step mother and father since her biological mother died.

The only connection between the three sisters and Suzu was their biological father and the lack of mother. Perhaps the big sister Sachi (Haruka Ayase) sees some resemblance in Suzu to her and her sisters, she invites Suzu to move in with them. The other two sisters (Masami Nagasawa and Kaho) second the idea. Alone with her step family, Suzu left for Kamakura and we enter the sisters' world through Suzu's perspective.

Similarly abandoned by adults and take care of themselves as in "Nobody Knows," the sisters in "Our little sister" have grown to extend family tradition – making plum wine and making family styled meals and struggle to fulfill their dreams – be a good nurse, a caring bank employee, a supportive girlfriend and playing soccer. The little brother from "I Wish", Ohshiro Maeda, who played the role of Futai Ozaki, has also matured into a handsome young men and takes the initiative to introduce his new friend for the local beauty – a cherry blossom tunnel.

Sakura, the essence of Japanese culture, was beautifully captured in this movie, not only in the tunnel where the youngsters bike through, but also as a swan's call before their neighbor passes away. She said the same thing as the sisters' father said on his dead bed – that we can look at beautiful things as beautiful before we leave. Life can be hard, but if we focus on the beauty of it, it can still be beautiful.

Death appear repeatedly in this movie – besides their father's funeral, the neighbor and their grandma's deaths are also mentioned. Big sister Sachi works at the terminal care ward and faces death day in and day out. The movie portrays death as something all around us and that not only is it nothing to be sad about or afraid of, but it reminds us how to live fully before we reach this full stop.

Part of being alive is extending family tradition or capturing beauty at the right moment – like Sakura hanami, biking in a cherry blossom tunnel, making plum wine and the white fish toast and rice and playing fireworks in yukata. Part of living relates to sacrifice for a bigger cause: Koda's father and mother leaving Kamakura and Saka's leaving her boyfriend.

Excellent cast and acting. I wish I had a big sister like Sachi and lived in a big house like that. The home-cooked meals make the whole movie very homey, warm and humanistic, even more comfortable than "Midnight Diner." In the big scheme of things, family is what we have left despite all the arguments and differences. And sometimes we may have to make sacrifices for the sake of the family – a theme common in Ozu's movies. Family and food seem to be the source of support we get after all the crazy things we encounter in the outside world – abandonment, betrayal, deaths, etc. Quite heart-warming, uplifting and beautiful. A little sad and a little short, just like life and cherry blossom.


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