The outstanding film I saw at this year's Japanese Film Festival, Orpheus's Lyre is a grand showcase for the star. Ryoko Hirosue is riveting as Yoko, the woman living any mother's worst nightmare, the death of a young daughter, and in extreme and long-term denial.
Although the situation is universal, Japanese mourning rituals are given solid coverage. The 49th day after death is considered crucial, as the date at which the soul passes from this world to the next and, therefore, the date from when the living are expected to get on with life.
But Yoko doesn't move on. The ache of the loss that simply won't heal takes an awful toll on her husband and friends, who try doggedly and unsuccessfully to help her move on, and to guide her away from the misguided and damaging belief that daughter Kanako's spirit has entered another living child.
The supporting cast do a fine job, but rarely do they manage to take attention away from R. This is a star vehicle par excellence. Highly recommended.