Still Walking : A Stroll through Butterfly Lane
“They say yellow butterflies like that are white ones that survive the winter and come back yellow the next year.”
Review by Shikhar Verma
A mother and a daughter prepare a meal as the brother pushes his wife to not stay the night. They are on their way for a family reunion, as they are mourning the death of the eldest son of the family. We see the father, who is not really happy with the way his son turned out walking past the town.
The family is not as broken as the pieces of tiles in the bathroom but still, they don’t walk together. Their steps don’t match, but they still walk. Maybe, one after the other or vice-versa. The father wants to put off his profession onto the next clan, but the way the son snatches his writings from being embarrassed to tell us otherwise.
There is an acceptance of the new wife but there are still back-lashes. The mother finds solace in inviting the wrestler-like kid who was responsible for her son’s death not because she is cruel but because that’s the only time she feels satisfied.
They walk again; two sets of mother and son this time, but now they witness the yellow butterfly that follows them home. The grief is present, the mother cooks to let her guard down, the son smokes, the father doesn’t talk or just wants to walk it off and the sister doesn’t shut up. The uptight main member of the family loosens up as they talk about music, or as he sees his neighbor taking her last breathes. Every single person in the family is different from each other, but every single one of them can be the same too.
The kids put on the shoes of the adults to bring in the beauty to the center table but Hirokazu Koreeda’s investigation of the family doesn’t end there. He shows us how the footprints are usually re-traced. He shows that the hate or the love that was restrained comes back full circle, and the wish to drive around the hill in the son’s car just stays a wish until the very end.
And…they walk again
Review by Amritt Rukhaiyaar
“I never did give my mother a ride in a car.” It felt really sad, hearing those lines towards the end, but then that’s the thing with families, they don’t necessarily have the ideal material/emotional endings or sometimes they do. I admired how Hirokazu Koreeda constantly kept a check on the melodrama and denied the film to be manipulative and yet Still Walking touched the right emotional chords, each one of them. For the 24 hours, the family spent together, they talked about food, music, their professions and occasionally the conversation limped towards more serious zone, such as disappointment of the father, dreams of the mother, the ideal son who died and is missed.
Before we could get a good dose of those emotions, we are suddenly taken back to a more mundane topic at the disposal like the t-shirt mother bought for his son and not the grandson, because family are just like that, they don’t constantly discuss their pain, even if the grief exists in the background of the mundanity of one’s life. When the mother said, “I am sure I still had something left to say” as they were waiting for the bus, the son in me cried for I have a mother 1000 kilometres away from me and sometimes I do get busy and forget calling her.
Review by Pallavi Tripathi
Every family is dysfunctional in it’s own way. But if it is a family, it will find it’s way to be happy together. Both happiness and togetherness is a highly subjective term. Sometimes it takes a lot, sometimes it takes almost nothing. This film is so intricately tailored & with such care that while it gives the glamour and delicateness of extreme finishing, it also gives the comfort when worn/watched. Characters are so intricately woven that we get to see what troubles them, what they hold dear, their remorse, secret & since it’s a story about/of a family, what’s their place in the family. It is true for each character even the most alluded ones.
Still walking is a drama build with such expertise that even jokes are multifaceted, some lets you chuckle like the intro scenes wherein the daughter-mother duo talks, there’s both physical and dialogue based commentary. Other humorous moments make you laugh. Some make you laugh at first then turn into a serious grim moment, ready for an explosion when at the right moment another element of humor is brought up if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what I’m talking about.
The movie brings the ego of the old man who’s the leader of the family, the quandary of being the middle kid, love with banters of mother-daughter, an alienated kid trying to join in, mother’s love for her lost child and her maybe cruel but totally justified way of dealing with it. It brings you so many things that by the end you feel it’s like a beautiful origami, each fold is complicated and essential to get the perfect shape, the shape being that of family and we all know how complicated that thing is.
The director has brought an ensemble cast that will let you absorb the movie completely and vividly, it will engage you and make you think a lot of things. It’s a perfect film for me coz frankly my dear, I have no suggestions to make this movie any more perfect. From song to framing to acting and editing, character development and plot development each string is so delicately weaved that by the end movie ends you’re left with awe!