This is a powerful and profound Japanese film about one woman's long and arduous journey through grief's labyrinth. Yumiko (Makiko Esumi) marries Ikuo, a childhood friend, and gives birth to a young son. Then her husband walks in front of a train an apparent suicide. Yumiko enters an inner landscape of sadness that she bears in silence. Later, she settles down in an arranged marriage with a widower who lives in a faraway fishing village with his daughter and elderly father. Still haunted by Ikuo's suicide, Yumiko remains closed off from those around her. She lets loose some of her anger, pain, and anxiety at a cremation service near her home on a desolate beach.
This beautifully photographed film, exquisitely directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, is an unflinching and harrowing anatomy of grief. It captures the mysteries of love and loss and the minute particulars which signal a healing within of the kind of hurt that seems to last forever.