Hush! Directed by Ryosuke Hashiguchi (Strand, opens November 8, at the Quad) Weary of gay-scene callowness, affable pet shop boy Naoya (Kazuya Takahashi) falls for shy, semi-closeted engineer Katsuhiro (Seiichi Tanabe), but a stranger's impulsive proposal wreaks havoc with their tentative domestic bliss. After a chance encounter, Asako (Reiko Kataoka), a dour, leather-tough dental hygienist with a history of debauchery, decides that Katsuhiro would make an ideal sperm donor. What follows seems at first like breezy alt-family affirmation à la Will & Grace (if not Madonna & Rupert), down to the obligatory variations on turkey-baster insemination jokes. But Japanese director Ryosuke Hashiguchi (Like Grains of Sand) enriches his rendition with melancholic ambivalence, sociological specificity, and a knack for delicate epiphany. Somewhat distended at 135 minutes (the stalker subplot adds next to nothing), Hush! plays out at an agreeably subdued volume—it's almost a shock when the dam of sorrow finally breaks in the penultimate scene. —Dennis Lim

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