“Always: Sunset on Third Street” is a story that takes place in 1958 Tokyo, Japan, and follows multiple characters. One of the characters is a teenage girl that is living with a family that owns a car repair shop. The second character is a young boy who has been abandoned. There are more interesting characters, such as the writer, that contribute to the overall story. However, it is the combination of all these characters combined that make it into a good slice of life/drama.
Initially the movie is a little bit of a slow-burn. Meaning that it does take some time to get to all of the different perspectives, and characteristics of each person. It almost feels like one big family and you need to understand each one of them in order to fully appreciate the plot. It is up to each member of the audience to put in the ‘effort’ to understand the entire picture. But if you decide to give this movie a honest try, by giving it your full attention, then you will definitely be rewarded.
What I really enjoyed about “Always: Sunset on Third Street” is the post-war 1958 Tokyo setting. The details of daily life were portrayed in a realistic, and sentimental manner, and it is all these little details that make the story very immersive. However, the most important part of this film is the character development. All the characters are not simply good, or bad, protagonist versus antagonist. In multiple scenes we as the audience witness that a given character has a good side, but also a bad one. Meaning, that during one scene a character will come across as a total bully, but later on we see that this is not the case. One could also argue that there is a good reason why a character behaves in a particular way, and that we as an audience have no right to judge them because we don’t know the entire story, and the background of each character. Again, it feels like you are being dropped inside a little community that you know nothing about. It feels very intimate.
I have to admit that at times I got distracted. This movie is 2:35 hours long and can feel really slow at times. You can expect this to happen because the official genre of this film is “drama/family” and is mainly about daily life, and drama. However, there were enough moments where I felt really engaged, or at least engaged enough to watch it. Although I did put the movie on pause once for about twenty minutes to do something else. Maybe the latter was the case because the drama became too extreme. Almost like a soap, or telenovela, and when you mix this with nostalgia it can become too much. The question is really if you like these kinds of films.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience because “Always: Sunset on Third Street” shows how to develop good, and realistic characters. And with this I mean characters that are ‘good’ in certain situations, and ‘bad’ in others. It really pushes a more philosophical question; when is an individual good? And one do we consider a person to be bad? Most actions or situations are murky, and can’t be classified as good or bad. One could say that these are life decisions with a huge impact. Enough about philosophy already. Another way to describe this movie is as an interesting Japanese drama. I totally would get it if people would rate this a 10/10 or a 6/10 because there are different kinds of interesting. This one is good ‘interesting’, but if you don’t pay attention to the little details then you will find yourself doing something else very quickly.
Directed by: Takashi Yamazaki, Writing Credits: Ryôhei Saigan (comic) Takashi Yamazaki (screenplay) & Ryôta Kosawa(screenplay)
Categories: Film Reviews Cat