VIDEO: The trailer for Tokyo Sonata
Spinning off from the same departure point as Laurent Cantet's 2001 film Time Out, J-horror maestro Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to Akira) begins his timely, if atypical, tale with the downsizing of Japanese patriarch Ryuhei Sasaki (Teruyuki Kagawa) from his administrative post. Ryuhei can't accept unemployment, and he never tells his family.
Donning suit and tie every morning, he sets off for "the office" — which in reality is a succession of lines: an unemployment line, a line at a soup kitchen. But unlike Cantet's picture, this story belongs to an entire family, and Ryuhei's not alone with his secrets.
Eldest son Takashi (Yu Koyanagi) wants to enlist in the US military; sibling Kenji (the talented Kai Inowaki) spends his school lunch money on piano lessons; their mother, Megumi (Kyôko Koizumi), is quietly and all-too-willingly taken hostage in a mood-shifting third act that signals yes, this is a J-horror Kurosawa film, an unexpectedly moving one.