Mourning Recipe (2013)
Director : Yuki Tanada
Screenwriter : Hisako Kurosawa. D’après le roman de/Based on the novel by: Yuki Ibuki
Cinematographer : Ryuto Kondo
Editor : Ryuji Miyajima
Cast : Hiromi Nagasaku, Renji Ishibashi, Masaki Okada, Fumi Nikaido, Taizo Harada, Keiko Awaji
Music : Yoshikazu Suo
This is a slice of life film with many quiet yet affecting moments. It’s about a father, Ryohei, whose wife, Otomi, suddenly passes away. This causes him to become quite depressed. Meanwhile, his daughter, Yuriko, is going through a divorce and returns home to take care of her father. They’re visited by a perky girl who knew Otomi. She presents them with a book that Otomi made before she died. This books is a recipe to a happy life. The book has a page for each of the 49 days with the last day being a great party where many people will meet to eat and laugh together. Though reluctant at first, Ryohei and Yuriko decide to prepare for the 49th day party with the help of the perky girl whom was someone that Otomo had taken care of in the past.
The story synopsis doesn’t sound exciting and no the movie is not exciting but there’s a certain charm and whimsy to many of the proceedings. There are also sad scenes and serious scenes. The flashbacks in particular often highlight a moment that gives us insight into the characters. Some are regretful ones where a character is mean to another one because of lack of understanding. They’re the type of scenes that are easy to relate to and could have happened to anyone. The theme of the film is very much about family but not necessarily blood-related but particularly how one can care for another even when they are not related.
The movie is quite long and I feel it definitely merits a second viewing to really appreciate it. Ultimately, I felt the movie was quite touching and despite being slow the only other criticism I could point at this film is that I didn’t really like the “perky” characters who seemed more like plot devices than characters. At least they weren’t one dimensional. One character was a Brazilian born Japanese who was living in Japan for a bit which is not a common character you see often. I wish I could write a better review because this is definitely a film worth seeing despite what might appear to be a lukewarm recommendation.