Beautifully filmed in documentary style, the story inches up on you like a stealthy spider, ensnaring you in its gossamer threads until, two hours and twenty minutes later, you're completely wrapped up in the lives of these resourceful, pragmatic kids. Especially enchanting is Yûya Yagira as the eldest brother Akira. He evokes a feral cat or urban fox as he goes out into the city to forage for food and supplies for his family. Even though he has become the man of the apartment, he's still a young boy who only wants to play baseball and go to school.
It is not a happy ending, but it's not depressing, either. It's just...an ending. And even though you've been sitting in a cramped cinema seat for 141 minutes...you aren't quite ready to see the closing credits.