If one is familiar with Kore-eda's later film _After Life_ one already knows that death and memory play key parts in his films. After creating stellar documentaries concerning such subjects as AIDS and what it is like for a Korean man passing himself off as Japanese for decades, Kore-eda created _Maborosi_ a film that takes a close look at the greif caused by losing a loved one.
The film starts off by showing a young girl named Yumiko trying to convince her grandmother to return home, however, the grandmother is determined to return home to die. Yumiko is unable to prevent her grandmother from leaving and this weighs on her young mind. Warp twelve or so years later and Yumiko is married to her childhood friend Ikuo and is the mother of a three year old son. Yumiko and Ikuo are far from well off, they live in a very small apartment with incredibly thin walls, but they seem to be decently happy. Well, at least Yumiko seems happy. After her husband brings home his bike and leaves with an umbrella, the next thing we learn is that he was killed walking on the train tracks. A suspected suicide.
Time passes and Yumiko's mother arranges her a marriage with a widower who lives in Kanazawa. Unlike her small apartment, Yumiko and her son move into a large old house with her new husband, his father, and his daughter. Ikuo gets along beautifully with his step-grandfather and step-sister and while it seems Yumiko likes her husband well enough, the shadow of Ikuo is always preasant.
This is a gorgeous film. Kore-eda does a wonderful job depicting the living conditions of a lower working class family and goes on to show ramshackle, but lovely older homes by the sea. Yumiko's husband's home looks incredibly shabby on the outside, but the polished hardwood floors and traditional furniture are extraordinary. Kore-eda also pays close attention to nature by showing the natural beauty of the region.