Review: Family, forgiveness and food in ‘Little Sister’

Drama focuses on three sisters who meet their half-sister at their father’s funeral

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

A death in the family sparks a new beginning for three sisters in Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Our Little Sister,” a touching story of forgiveness, acceptance and moving forward.

When their father dies, Sachi (Haruka Ayase), Yoshino (Masami Nagasawa) and Chika (Kaho) travel to his funeral where they meet Suzo (Suzu Hirose), their teenage half-sister. Suzo was born to their father and his mistress, for whom he left their family behind.

Suzo, who cared for her father in his final days, carries the shame of her father’s actions in her everyday life. Sachi, Yoshino and Chika decide to invite Suzo to come live with them.

So Suzo packs up and moves in with the sisters, and they bond over pedicures, plum wine and food. Lots and lots of food. “Our Little Sister” isn’t a food movie per se, but food plays as big a role in it — as a means of socializing, as a means of bonding, as a means of honoring family traditions — as it does fare such as “Big Night” or “Chef.”

“Our Little Sister” follows the sisters’ professional and romantic dramas, but this is a mostly quiet film built on minor moments. One lovely sequence captures Suzo as she rides down a street of cherry blossom trees in full bloom, which serves as a reminder of her father and his final moments.

“Our Little Sister” is rather warm and fuzzy, in a good way, and writer-director Koreeda builds a loving, relatable family dynamic between the sisters. At two-plus hours, however, this meal could use one less course. It’s plenty filling, no need to leave stuffed.

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‘Our Little Sister’


Rated PG: for thematic elements and brief language

Running time: 128 minutes