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After Life

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After Life

After Life

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
runtime:
118 minutes
performer:
Kore-eda Hirokazu
director:
Kore-eda Hirokazu
distributor:
New Yorker Films
genre:
Drama, Comedy, Foreign Language

We gave it a B+

Albert Brooks, creator of Defending Your Life, would recognize writer-director Kore-eda Hirokazu as a comrade-in-purgatory. This gentle Japanese fantasy follows the recently departed to a kind of rural retreat where they dredge their memories to come up with a moment that gave them absolute joy, which the celestial workers will re-create and lovingly film so that the dead may savor it for eternity. (To help their clients choose, staffers conduct interviews and compare notes, proving that superior customer service really is the very definition of heaven.) The simplicity and poignancy of the choices — riding a bus, swinging on a swing — and the great variety of interviewees result in a film of nonsticky freshness, as well as unforced profundity. Short of Rip Torn as one’s advocate in the Brooksian afterlife, the dedicated workers in this parable are the best allies a soul could have in this life or the next. B+

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