‘Tokyo Sonata’

A slow-moving domestic drama as an ordinary Tokyo family fall apart when the father (Teruyuki Kagawa – Tsurugidake: Ten no ki, Yureru) loses his executive job – and, in shame, fails to tell his wife and two sons.

Leaving the house everyday at the same time, dressed for the office, Ryûhei Sasaki spends his time looking for work, sitting in the local library and eating at the free food vendors alongside the homeless and many other men in the same position. Returning home each night, tempers are frayed with his eldest, Takashi, spending less and less time with the family and schoolboy Kenji desperate to take piano lessons. It is for Megumi (Koizumi Kyoko – Hanging Garden, Before We Vanish) to play the peacemaker as the family struggle to communicate with each other.

Delicate and gentle, capturing a sense of time and place but with an undercurrent of dread, each family member experiences a personal catharsis. With a change of pace from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Journey to the Shore, To the Ends of the Earth) with the Megumi ‘moment’, Tokyo Sonata does lose its focus and teeters on the edge of ill-conceived melodrama. But the narrative is drawn back to the centre to facilitate a conclusion to a drama of the everyday.

Rating: 61%


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