Ah, the sun. As the UK basks in a surprise Easter heatwave, I find I'm less attracted to dark, tense thrillers and am drawn towards lighter, more summer-y material. Apart from anything else, trying to watch dimly-lit scenes while I'm sitting in a room with the sun coming in through the window often ruins the atmosphere.
This film from 2008 tells the tale of a divorced man (Miyasako Hiroyuki) who decides to open a café one summer and he gets his daughter (Naka Riisa) to help as a waitress. One day, an attractive woman comes in looking for a job and the appalled daughter watches as her father falls in love.
The comedy arises naturally from the situations and doesn't feel forced, and Naka Riisa never puts a foot wrong in her portrayal of a high school student forced to stand by as her dad makes a fool of himself. I think I’ve underestimated her acting skills, since this is now the second film I’ve seen in which she’s been great. Perhaps Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo wasn’t the best place to start my assessment of her career.
Another part of the film I enjoyed was the mother (Hamada Mari). In a lesser film, this would have been the source of loud arguments but in this film, the resentment is more in the background, and they never shout at each other when they meet, only bicker endlessly about the same things.
Kudos, too, go to Miyasako Hiroyuki (Zettai Reido, At Home Dad) as a the father and Aso Kumiko as the waitress that causes all his anguish. This is a fairly gentle film, despite the rather pessimistic message it gives about love. It's well-written and sensitively acted, with an engaging storyline and as the film progresses and feelings get hurt, it never loses its sense of humour nor does it fall into cliché.