Oh Lordy. I should have left half way through this Japanese film. I’d just seen a really delightful Japanese film, Wonderful World End, and this one started well. We see a women, Mizuki, drifting in and out of her day. She teaches piano, lives alone. Then a man appears in her apartment and we soon realise he is her dead husband Yusuke, who drowned himself three years before. She’s not surprised to see him and when they begin a journey together, others can see and talk to him too. I liked this quirk of the film and I wondered whether it says something about Japanese culture and how they view death.
There are some lovely aspects to this film. An extended scene shows them staying with a man who is also dead but doesn’t realise it and I liked how we were unsure of what was real, as was Mizuki. Another scene where she helps a girl play piano is quite moving. This film, like Louder Than Bombs, is about grief but in that film, grief was a dark place where you stumble alone, in Journey to the Shore, it is a warm bath that you can drown in.
The pace and quietness of the film was often marred by intrusive Disneyland orchestral music, probably to underline sentimental moments but this was not needed. The film dragged on and ultimately did not say anything that it hadn’t said in the first hour.