I thought this was really boring. Don't know where its high marks come from.
Leaving her alcoholic husband, Eiko takes their son Masaya away from Tokyo and back to her hometown in a Kyushu rural mining community. She toils to support him though many years of schooling even after he wastes his time while studying art in a Tokyo university. After graduation he struggles to find work and finally pulls his life together for his mother's sake, ultimately ending up with multiple jobs as an illustrator and even as the host of a sexually-themed talk show on radio. When Eiko becomes ill with cancer, Masaya invites her to live with him in back in Tokyo where the roles of support are reversed.