Haunted for years by visions of her beloved grandmother, who disappeared without a trace in her childhood, Yumiko (Esumi) lives a happy, contented life with her husband, Ikuo (Asano), and their infant son. One morning, however, Yumiko is devastated when police inform her that Ikuo was killed while walking along train tracks, apparently a suicide. Baffled by this inscrutable act, and now burdened as a single mother, Yumiko struggles to come to terms with her sudden isolation and eventually make a new life without Ikuo.
A potent examination of one woman's attempt to cope with loss and grief, Koreeda's tranquil, almost unnervingly serene drama brings to mind the finest work of Ozu, especially with its humanism, compassion, and focus on the psychology of a female protagonist. Still and silent, yet visually ravishing, "Maborosi" is a kind of mourning song for vanished loved ones and the persistent enigma of others' inner emotional lives. Seeing it is a sort of healing experience.