Film Reviews, News & Competitions


Only Yesterday

Film Information

Plot: At 27 years of age Taeko still has a lot to learn about life, thankfully her younger 10 year-old self is at hand to help. As she enjoys some downtime in the countryside away from her hectic city life, Takeo can’t help but think about her childhood and it is that adolescent voice in her head that helps guide her future.
Release Date: 15th August 2016
Format: DVD | Blu-ray | VOD
Director(s): Isao Takahata
Cast: Miki Imai, Toshirô Yanagiba, Youko Honna
BBFC Certificate: PG
Running Time: 118 mins
Country Of Origin: Japan
Language: Japanese with English subtitles.
Review By: Janet Leigh
Genre: , ,
Film Rating
3/ 5


Bottom Line

A tender story with a slight wooly feel.

Posted August 15, 2016 by

Film Review

If you’re the type of person who likes to go into a movie blind – i.e. no prior knowledge of the plot, completely down for a spontaneous ride – then Only Yesterday is not for you.

Though a sweet, subtle film about how reflection on ones’ past can help navigate their future, that message is so gently hummed throughout it barely makes itself heard above the overlaying narrative.

An interesting overlaying narrative? Yes. Undeniably so. The character of Taeko (Miki Imai) is relatable both as the young 10 year-old dreamer she was and the lost yet good-natured adult she’s becomes.

With ‘cooties’, crushes, sibling squabbles and ticking-offs her childhood mirrors milestones we’ve all achieved. There are even many pockets of laughter throughout as her trip down memory lane strikes a familiar chord in our own minds.

However, despite the amusement Only Yesterday seems as directionless as adult Taeko and for a while it’s a struggle to understand the purpose Taeko’s younger self in her adult thoughts.

But that doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable watch overall. It is a joy to watch the relationship between Taeko and farmer Toshio (Toshirô Yanagiba) as it gradually exceeds the pleasantries stage and develops into something deeper. A gentle, tender reminder that opportunities – be it relationships or otherwise – can sometimes slip by if we ignore what is right underneath our noses.

Stylistically, director Isao Takahata does an effortless job at seamlessly slipping between the past and the present all culminating in a particularly tense yet romantically exciting finish.

Janet Leigh



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