Japanese critics are calling "The Miracles of the Namiya General Store" the "most tear-inducing" story ever adapted from a Keigo Higashino novel. The best-selling author has penned such sensations as the thrillers "The Devotion of Suspect X" and "Journey Under the Midnight Sun," but "Namiya" went a different way and instead demonstrates Higashino's hidden flair for feel-good stories.

Brought to the screen by Ryuichi Hiroki, a master of the genre, "Namiya" comes off like the Japanese version of a Nicholas Sparks vehicle, minus the love story. There's a relationship at the center, but it isn't a romantic one: Sixty-nine-year-old veteran Toshiyuki Nishida pairs up with 24-year-old Ryosuke Yamada from idol-pop group Hey! Say! Jump.

Nishida stars as the titular Namiya, who owned and ran a general goods store in 1980, and is beloved by the neighborhood as a dispenser of life advice. People would write letters spilling their hearts out and drop them in his mailbox, and Namiya would duly reply with another letter deposited in a private postbox. These days, he'd be called a life coach and could probably make millions. Back then, he was a nice old guy who just liked to help.