July 01, 2020
A solid, but somewhat understated drama. Kaito is a hair stylist, Sayoko a housewife who just moved into the neighborhood with her family. When she goes to Kaito's salon for a haircut, something long dormant awakens in Sayoko. The both of them are in a relationship though, and neither is immediately willing to explore their feelings for each other.
Somebody's Xylophone isn't the first film about middle-age ennui, but Higashi's approach feels quite fresh and modern. The film mostly avoids the usual victimization that tends to dominate similar dramas, instead it creates a very warm and humane narrative that treats its characters with the proper respect.
Performances are good and Higashi makes good use of the soundtrack to either create short breathers, or accentuate certain dramatic moments. The cinematography is crisp and clean, though not quite up there with the better films in the genre. While the film lacks some true stand-out moments, it's a strong film with little to no weak points.