The wind of change is blowing as a family grapples with unemployment, alienation, mistrust and a lack of communication. When a Japanese salaryman loses his job to outsourcing to China, it is just the beginning of a series of family shattering incidents leading to the implosion of the family unit.Written by
For a foreigner like me, Japan is a mystery, both wonderful, weird and hard to understand, especially since most of my information about the country is anecdotal or (worse?) coming from mangas. I've met people having the greatest respect for Japanese customs and people who completely badmouth the country.
From this perspective, Tokyo Sonata is a bit of a gem, showing me how ordinary Japanese people live and think. There is the family, standard issue of father, mother and two children, and there are the roles: head of the family, respectful housewife, rebellious teenager and confused child. What do they do when the economic crisis and the traditional value system clash?
I thought the actors were good, the soundtrack as well (to be expected given the title), and the plot was slow but crisp. There must have been a lot of expectations on a guy directing movies when his last name is Kurosawa and not related to Akira, because the movie was overall an excellent film. However, given its two hour length and slow pace, I advice you look at it when in the mood for cinematography, not some easy entertainment. Also, it is a pretty sad drama in places, so be ready to empathize with some hard hit people.
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