After the Storm is one of those movies where you wish a supporting character had been the focus. Kirin Kiki plays Yoshiko, a recent widow who opens the film in her small, Japanese apartment, a space that is cluttered but carefully arranged (something writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda emphasizes with intentionally busy compositions). She soon gets a visit from her son Ryota (Hiroshi Abe), a former novelist now struggling as a private detective and divorced father. This will become Ryota’s story, and it’s told with a delicate care for the difficulties of intergenerational family dynamics, but the movie loses something whenever Kiki is offscreen. Sensible, blunt, and wonderfully funny (“Hurry up or I’ll haunt you,” she threatens Ryota after asking him to buy her a condo), Yoshiko is in a stage of life that’s equally—if not more—compelling than that of her son, given the changes she’s facing (and the neighbor she has a crush on). Kiki gets some great lines, but the performance is also all about how she bustles around her kitchen preparing modest meals with a pleasant sense of contentment, even as she’s pulling the strings attached to the various members of her clan. She’s the heartbeat of the family, and the movie.