Movie: Our Little Sister (Japanese)

If you enjoy peaceful Ghibli vibes, this may be the live action film for you. Beautiful poignant moments, as well as lovely family and friendship ties punctuate this movie. 

Our Little Sister
Language: Japanese
Year: 2016
Genre: Slice of life, Drama

What's it about: Three adult sisters adopt their younger half-sister at their father's funeral. A new life begins for all of them. 


Recently I've been more interested in 'sisterhood' films that are either about deep friendships* or in this case, sisters by blood. (*I revisited the Sisterhood of Traveling Pants. Firefly Lane is also something I enjoyed watching.)

My favourite characters are Suzu, the youngest sister who was adopted, and the oldest sister, Sachi. The actresses depict them with much life and personality! They are also very pretty~

Let me introduce the sisters:

Suzu is good at football and generally a lively girl despite having to take up heavy responsibilities as a child. 

Her oldest sister, Sachi, is a nurse who brought up the other two siblings when both their parents abandoned them. She carries the weight of the family.

Second sister Yoshino is more carefree and loves to shop, drink and date men. 

Third sister Chika is laidback.  

From right to left: Yoshino, Suzu, Sachi and Chika

The sisters live in a large, charming and cosy house that would not be out of place in a Ghibli movie. It is old, dear and very nostalgic.

While the movie was calm and peaceful, I found myself being paranoid. Early in the movie, Yoshino introduces her then-boyfriend to the house and mentions something about 'no locks'. Taken together with another conversation about debts, loans, and nasty looking gangsters, I really feared for the girls' safety. It's a small town but anything can happen.....?!! There were legitimately no locks - just traditional sliding doors and a low gate that anyone can climb. 

Luckily this film did not go down that road.

And of course, the Japan obsession, or shall I say, way of life with sakura cannot be omitted in this slice of life film! The youthfulness and energy of this scene was very invigorating. 

Fireworks, festivals, home made plum wine and everything that pertains to a romantic view of Japan were included too. Though beautiful, I'm starting to think that these themes can get really monotonous - just like how almost every other Singaporean film features the iconic HDB flat. 

Nevertheless, I suppose these elements are so embedded in the culture and cannot be avoided as they contribute to the traditional social fabric. We all need some structure even if times are changing.

The movie leaves you wanting more - you want to know how their lives all turned out, whether they still enjoy living together. You also wonder what it would be like to live in such a house in a small town, where the train hoots past you from your kitchen window. Very idyllic! 

Overall, if you enjoy the slow, light-hearted pace of Ghibli movies or slice of life movies, this movie could be the answer. It's a classic for sure! 


P.S.  Happy Valentine's Day to all!