Though Yôji Yamada made a massive amount of films throughout his career as a director, I've never really gotten around to delving into his older work. My Sons looked like an interesting film to start exploring his back catalog, even though it's still decades removed from Yamada's early work.
The film was pretty much what I expected it to be. A decidedly sentimental and dramatized slice of life about two sons who move off to Tokyo to build a life of their own, leaving their father behind in a small rural town. The usual tension between young and old, urban and rural drives the narrative of this film.
Performances are solid (with a young Masatoshi Nagase as one of the standouts), the Japanese countryside is as beautiful as ever and the deliberate pacing helps to ground the drama. It reminded me a bit of Ôbayashi's 80s/90s dramas, the difference being that Ôbayashi seemed more inspired when directing his films. My Sons feels a little unremarkable by comparison, but it's certainly not a bad film.