Matthew Lickona noon, July 29
A wise film from director Hirokazu Koreeda, one that knows kids for what they are: not miniature adults, not the masters of their own magical kingdoms, but newcomers struggling to navigate by their own imperfect charts. Twelve-year-old Koichi dreams of reuniting his divorced parents -- the pain of his family’s rupture is enough to make him wish a neighboring volcano would erupt just so they would be driven back together. In his final act of childish faith -- an act only half-seen for what it is -- he concocts a mission to set things right by tapping into forces greater than himself. Bittersweetness follows. 2011.