Excellent portrayal of the devastation that was and can be caused by events that the indigenous people have no control over. Although a work of fiction, the story is incredibly real and the movie made you feel such an empathy for the characters and the horror of their lives changing so dramatically as a result of the disaster. From simple happiness living from the hard work of farming, to such sadness as everything falls apart. The wonderful strength and importance of family. Had me in tears! Reality check, big time. So many families have lost so much because of the actual Fukishima disaster, and while we live a charmed life by comparison, one must never take for granted what one has. The good life can disappear in seconds.
People in the West should take note of his name, for his work transcends cultural barriers. He has the power to blow floodgates of emotion wide open. Sono has, indeed, after a series of great films, proved himself to be one of the most interesting and powerful directors living the world today. And here, perhaps, on the mellow suffering of his countrymen, he has crafted the crown jewel of his career. But even there, even when I thought the director had failed – in the placing of a long-winded scene or the evocation of an easy emotion – the dramatic pay-off ALWAYS justifies everything that has come before. The film provides, indeed, one of the most emotionally draining, spiritually breathtaking third acts that I have ever seen in a film.
Over-effusive praise is self-defeating, because it can throw people off. It’s not a perfect film. There is still something in the Japanese style of movie making that allows for meandering shots at times. There are still ways of refining the craft forward; I have high hopes Shion Sono’s best film is still ahead of him. But honestly, there is not much else to criticize. All I can say is that this movie demanded everything, and gave back everything, in the course of its perfectly timed journey and the well-planned catharsis.
This is a movie about roots, growing up, self-discovery, death, life and the possibilities of learning more about yourself through hardship. This is a movie about commitment – in love as well as in life – and how to make good things happen in a bad world. This is a good movie about bad things happening to good and bad people alike. The most astounding parts of this film is definitely the stellar acting, especially by the old couple who form the heart of the film, and the scenery of real-life Fukushima set in the fictive town of Nagashima. Sion Sono has crafted his most mature film to date with “The Land of Hope”. Highly recommended.