In this film from 2014, director Ando Momoko directs her sister Ando Sakura in a long, rambling story about a home-carer who, out of kindness, helps one of the families she cares for out of office hours. This is against official practise, so when the evening ends in tragedy, she is also given the sack.
This begins a long road trip type movie in which Sakura’s character, Yamagishi Sawa, drifts from one adventure to another. Although “adventure” is probably the wrong word. They are understated episodes in which Sawa gets involved with a lonely old man and changes his life for the better before moving on.
The film lasts over three hours and, since it involves several short stories, you could be forgiven for watching it in several chunks, like I did. However, that’s not to say the film is bad. Far from it. But it can be a test of endurance.
Luckily the film is centred around an astonishingly good performance by Ando Sakura. She’s in pretty much every scene and it’s her portrayal of an everyday woman thrown into extraordinary circumstances that makes the film work.
She’s just an amazing actress and if I was the type to write fan mail, I’d have written her a book by now. But it’s so hard to pin down why she is as good as she is. It’s almost as if she isn’t acting. But at the same time, you can’t help but be transfixed by her.
So, at the very least, if you want three hours of some of the best acting you’re likely to see, then this is for you. The addition of intriguing stories and clean, crisp directing is a bonus.