Ken supports himself delivering newspapers. He has an interest in archaeology, having even passed an entry exam to a university program, though he does not make enough money to pay for tuition fees. He begins to sit in on the lectures of a professor, and is noticed by Haru, a university student who confronts him after seeing him steal a prehistoric bone from the archaeology department. The two become romantically involved and live together in Ken’s apartment. But their playful relationship begins to unravel when Ken’s estranged mother returns to extract money from her son. Meanwhile, Haru’s professor, who helps Ken gain a foothold in the archaeology program and offers to let him assist on excavations, becomes attracted to Haru after noticing that she resembles his deceased wife, leading Ken to become jealous and increasingly violent.
Director Ohashi takes this soap-operatic material but, with a sharp visual and editing style, saps it of any sentimentality. Her film examines contemporary relationships in a mature, yet personal way. The film is also fitting for our uncertain times, dealing with young twenty-somethings who struggle to find a purpose in life with limited financial resources and a lack of direction. But while Door to the Sea perfectly communicates its characters’ sense of aimlessness, the film itself is remarkably focused and efficient.