My Daughter Yoshiko Image

My Daughter Yoshiko

By Andrew Stover | May 15, 2023

Directed by Brian Blum, who co-wrote the script with Kent Morita, My Daughter Yoshiko is a short family drama following Saki Omura (Saori Goda), a Japanese American mother who has a lot on her mind. Saki has a whirlwind of doubts, fears, and anxieties surrounding the well-being of her daughter (Mei-Lin Hosang), who’s been recently diagnosed with autism. With her husband away serving in the military, Saki is struggling to keep it together and is hesitant to speak openly about her daughter’s diagnosis out of fear of being judged.

Saki is first seen tending to her crying, restless daughter. She hugs Yoshiko to calm her down. This is when Aaron Kenny’s plaintive score comes in to suppress the diegetic noise, and the camera lingers on Saki’s weary expression. Goda commands the screen as a mother wrestling with exhaustion and anxiety. Living in an apartment with thin walls, Saki leaves origami cranes on her neighbors’ doormats with a note apologizing for the noise. Perhaps she does this because she feels ashamed of her daughter’s behavior, although she shouldn’t.

“…a mother confronts self-doubt and takes the first steps to better understand her daughter.”

During a grocery trip, Yoshiko begins acting up. With stellar editing by Carlos Perez Segarra, we get glimpses of what it’s like to experience the world through Yoshika’s eyes. Yoshika is overwhelmed by her surroundings — the buzzing lights are especially grating. Unable to stop Yoshika from crying, we are once again placed in Saki’s shoes. She, too, is growing restless as annoyed customers stare at her intensely. It’s certainly possible that in her mind, the prying, judgmental stares of strangers are exaggerated, although the effect is all the same.

My Daughter Yoshiko makes you sympathize with Saki because nobody knows how one would feel or react if their child was diagnosed with autism. Understandably, she is anxious and frustrated, especially with how others treat her child. It takes a lot of strength to power through the negativity that either you or others have perpetuated. However, it would be foolish to underestimate a parent’s ability to do so when the negativity is being directed at their child.

My Daughter Yoshiko is a candid and emotional short in which a mother confronts self-doubt and takes the first steps to better understand her daughter. Over the course of 16 minutes, Blum plays on the anxieties of parenthood while pulling at the heartstrings. He does this while seeing to it that the topics of autism and parenthood are approached delicately.

My Daughter Yoshiko (2023)

Directed: Brian Blum

Written: Brian Blum, Kent Morita

Starring: Saori Goda, Mei-Lin Hosang, Yoshi Amao, Rika Akanishi, Amy Hoerler, Miguel Belmonte, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

My Daughter Yoshiko Image

"…candid and emotional..."

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