Photo Credit: © 2016 What a Wonderful Family! Film Partners
What a Wonderful Family! | 家族はつらいよ
- Yoji Yamada, Japan, 2016, DCP, 108m
- Japanese with English subtitles
- Starring: Isao Hashizume, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Yu Aoi
- U.S. Premiere
After over 20 years, Yoji Yamada returns to comedy with brisk energy and exhilarating grace and chooses to show the distress of a family in all its dysfunctional glory. Not exactly a concept you would expect genuine laughs from, but the lighthearted sense of humor elevates the film above any melodramatic mush and turns it into one of the best comedies of the year. Enjoying the comfort of a hard-earned retirement, which he spends golfing and boozing himself up at the local hostess bar, Japanese patriarch (sort of) Shuzo (Isao Hashizume) understandably has a bit of a shock when Tomiko (Kazuko Yoshiyuki), his dutiful wife of 50 years, decides she’s actually mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore—which in Japanese means she politely hands him the paperwork for a divorce. As family-wide panic sets in, their three adult children are forced to deal with their own relationship hang-ups and intergenerational (mis)communication.