In This Corner of The World is set against the backdrop of Japan during World War Two. At the start of the movie main character, Suzu moves to a naval port city after getting married suddenly. Suzu's trials and tribulations throughout the movie are a reflection of what life was like for women living in Japan at the time. Food is rationed, so when Suzu loses sugar she is told to go to the black market. At one point in the movie, Suzu gets in trouble with military police for making an innocent drawing of the port. In the climate of the time, this action was enough to raise suspicions that she could be a spy.
These two scenes both highlight different sides of what it was like to live under the conditions of World War Two. Suzu and the rest of the cast have little choice but to do what they can to survive under the circumstances. This theme acts as a thread that connects the various scenes of the movie together and makes it feel a completed whole rather than a collection of anecdotes.
In This Corner the World is adept at portraying the circumstances surrounding its chosen era because of its tone. Most of the movie is quiet and contemplative. Each of the scenes gives the characters room to breathe. In doing so this film allows the viewer to see the full experience of what each moment means to the movie's characters.
The characters are something of a mixed bag. They exist as a medium for the experiences of their time and place, and some of them are more complex than others. Suzu is the most complex. She benefits from a character arc, a brief love interest, and small defining character details. The other characters mainly exist to react to her. Individually only a few of the cast stand out, though they do work well as a whole.
The tone of the movie's narrative is always supported by the movie's art style. The colours are bright for the happier scenes and subdued for the sadder moments. The art style works equally well with both moods and the transition from one to another is seamless.
There aren't any special features to accompany the movie, but this release does come with both Japanese and English language options.
This is a touching look at the daily grind of a family living during a time of war. It handles the subject with the appropriate level of sensitivity. It succeeds through a tight focus, and a mature handling of its subject matter.
IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD / CERT: PG / DIRECTORS: VARIOUS / SCREENWRITER: VARIOUS / STARRING: LAURA POST, TODD HABERKORN, BARBARA GOODSON, KIRK THORNTON, KIRA BUCKLAND, AVA PICKARD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW