After the Storm

Poster for After the Storm

In the latest film from celebrated Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda (Like Father, Like Son; Our Little Sister), a divorced man struggles to regain his estranged family’s trust while sheltering them during a typhoon. After the Storm recalls the beauty of scenery after a summer rain and the feeling that everything seems different, even though nothing has changed.

Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is a failed writer, third-rate detective and hardened gambler. As the film’s title seems to suggest, the salient moments of Ryota’s life have already passed him by: he won an important literary award when he was young but his career is no longer promising; his father has died and his wife has left him; and he adores his young son, yet seems resigned to his position on the sidelines of the boy’s life. One night, when a typhoon strikes, the broken family is forced to spend the night together at Ryota’s mother’s home. The ensuing interaction, free of melodrama and forced catharsis, is bittersweet and tender in true Kore-eda style.

Followers of Kore-eda’s body of work will recognize many of the themes at play here, such as the attempt to find harmony in a community and the traumatic impact of divorce on a child’s life. Shot in a housing complex where the director lived as a child, the film is supported by an exceptional cast featuring an unusually irreverent Kirin Kiki (Our Little Sister; Like Father, Like Son) as Ryota’s mother. Gentle and melancholy, yet highly amusing, After the Storm shows the lighter side of Kore-eda’s cinema, and makes a welcome addition to his complex and fascinating filmography.

“This is Kore-eda at his very best, facing up to the hardest truths with honesty and a nervous laugh—uncomfortable, invigorating, and ultimately cleansing, like the cinema’s equivalent of a cold shower. And I mean that in the best way possible.” (Rory O’Connor, The Film Stage)

“No director working today observes family life with such delicacy and care, or is so unstintingly generous with what they find.” (Robbie Collin, The Telegraph)