3.0, Japan

Always: Sunset on Third Street

New York Asian Film Festival2005 / Takashi Yamazaki > Always may have been dominant in winning 12 of the 13 major Japanese Academy Awards in 2005, but its overly sentimental tone will hold it back from being a true classic. Set in the feel-good days of post-war Japan, the film’s depiction of family life in Tokyo is charming and full of heart, but the script’s overbearing emotion tends to undermine the sublime potential the characters themselves hold. Combined with the acting (which may be the strongest suit of the film and deserving of all its awards), Always ingeniously suckers you into tearjerker moments even if you could smell the set up a mile away—pretty impressive for a sterile, heavy-handed script.