Yamazaki's Always: Sunset on Third Street truly launched his career. It's a certified box office hit that feels surprisingly small, but well-balanced and effective. It would become the start of a sweet, adorable and easy-going trilogy, though none of its follow-ups would be able to top this first film.
The film is mostly about its setting, a nostalgic throwback to the Tokyo of the late '50s. The two families that live in Third Street are mostly just vehicles to explore the city, the technology and the economic situation of that time. There's also a little drama, especially in the latter part of the film, but nothing too immersive.
The cinematography is decent, so are the performances and the soundtrack. None of them truly exceptional, but they all to their part in bringing this forgone era back to life. What makes this film stand out is how everything works together to create a warm, loving and gentle film that cruises through its 140-minute runtime.