Director: Tatsushi Ohmori
Year Released: 2020
Single mother Akiko (Masami Nagasawa) wanders the streets with her son Shuhei (Sho Gunji as a boy, Daiken Okudaira as a teen) using him to scam people out of money - when he later on wants to go to school, she becomes even more manipulative. I can see the influence of fellow countryman Hirokazu Kore-eda in this - specifically Nobody Knows and maybe even Shoplifters - except with A Strong Dose of Haneke added to the swill: it's a cruel and plodding movie that's too light on psychological analysis, showing the continuous punishment of Shuhei with no revelation of what's going on inside his head while Akiko, who has a medley of mental illnesses (I'm not a psychiatrist, but I'm guessing she's borderline), somehow avoids any serious psychological treatment (or hospitalization). The ending is particularly unsettling, but perversely it ends up helping Shuhei out: he's no longer under the control of the woman who gave him life.