Heisa Byôtô: Sorezore no Asa
2019 / 117m - Japan
Family of Strangers poster


October 28, 2020


A solid but somewhat innocuous drama. It's not quite sentimental enough to be described as Oscar-bait, but on paper it certainly looks that way. I think it would've been nicer if Hirayama had just picked a side, but there's still enough quality present to give this one a fair shot.

The film follows a ward in a clinic for the mentally ill. Not the toughest cases, most people there are allowed to venture outside, but all the patients are dealing with deep-rooted traumas. The film zooms in on three patients: an old man who killed his adulterous wife, a young boy who suffers bursts of rage and a young girl who isn't speaking anymore.

Performances are well above average and the drama is fine. Cinematography and score are on point too, it's just that the film lacks anything that sets it apart. The setting, the dramatic events, the struggles of the characters, it feels like so many films have done it before and Family of Strangers isn't really adding anything new to it. Not bad though, just a little on the safe side.