After the Storm – Hirokazu Kore-eda
Hiroshi Abe, Yoko Maki, Satomi Kobayashi
なりたいものになれた？or ‘Have you become what you wanted to be?’
Ryota Shinoda used to be an award-winning writer who had a beautiful wife and a son. Nowadays he is a divorced gamble-addict who can barely afford (or rather; not at all) to pay child support to his ex-wife. As ‘research’ for his next book, he is working as a private-detective.
After Ryota’s father has passed away, he returns to his old home in the hope to find something he can sell for a lot of money. However, his mother threw everything away already. Neither Ryota or his mother have anything nice to say about Ryota’s dead father. Even though Ryota said he never hated his father, he claims that he does not want to become like his father. His actions show something different though.
During his work as private detective, Ryota also ‘stalks‘ his ex-wife and her new boyfriend. He uses their son to get new information as well. It is clear that Ryota still has feelings for his ex-wife. Once a month, he gets to spend a day with his son Shingo. This time he takes Shingo with him to his grandmother. When he asks his ex-wife Kyoko to pick Shingo up at his grandmother’s place, they end up having to stay over because of a heavy typhoon. An emotional night follows, with Ryota trying to gain back his lost family, while his ex-wife clearly has moved on already. Ryota’s mother is also hoping for a wonder, as she can see that her son needs someone who can take care of him.
After the Storm shows the struggles one goes through to become the person they want to be. Even though the theme of the movie can be considered quite emotional, the movie is portrayed with humor and simplicity, which makes it enjoyable to watch. Kore-eda manages to put a real and believable story on the screen. A story that even feels familiar at certain points. Its strong characters certainly help to create this effect.
Maybe you will never become who you want to be, but it is important that you keep trying.