|Sachio is a very successful but arrogant writer who is cheating on his wife Natsuko. During a trip away, Natsuko and her friend Yuki are killed in a bus accident. Sachio - whose celebrity status has led to media interest in the tragedy - initially finds himself unable to grieve. Ultimately, however, his life begins to fall apart as the reality of his wife’s absence hits him. During the public inquiries into the crash, he encounters Yuki’s husband Yoichi. Yoichi’s job as a truck driver has left him in a tight spot, unable to stay at home with his two young children. Sachio cautiously agrees to look after the kids while their father is out of town.
The Long Excuse is a poignant and sensitively observed character study that never dips into mawkishness. Director Miwa Nishikawa handles the material with genuine compassion and thoughtfulness, always providing the talented cast with the space they need to develop their characters. Masashiro Motoki - star of the Oscar-winning Departures, who has only recently made his big-screen comeback - turns in a beautifully constrained performance as Sachio, while a warm and lively Pistol Takehara is delightful as Yoichi. The pair are, however, given a run for their money by young Kenshin Fujita and Tamaki Shiratori as the two children attempting to come to terms with their mother’s absence.|