There's been talk recently about the decline of youth romance in Japanese cinema, as audiences tire of all those teary-eyed paeans to puppy love. Shunji Iwai — whose 1995 breakout hit, "Love Letter," was an exemplar of the genre — has other ideas. With a title and structure evoking the director's earlier film, "Last Letter" finds Iwai still searching for the platonic ideal of slush.

It's a shamelessly corny movie, made more appealing by its cast — or some of them, at least. Takako Matsu, reuniting with Iwai for the first time since 1998's "April Story," plays Yuri, a middle-aged mother mourning the death of her older sister, Misaki.

When she heads to Misaki's high school reunion, intending to break the news to her old classmates, she gets mistaken for her older sibling and decides to go along with it. Things get complicated when fellow alumnus Koshiro (Masaharu Fukuyama), now a failed novelist, chases after her to confess that he's still in love with her — her late sister, that is.