Okuribito (Departures)
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"Departures" follows Daigo Kobayashi, a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and who is suddenly left without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled "Departures" thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The movie gestures towards deep emotions, but an abiding soft-grained superficiality effectively insulates us from the piercing realities of grief."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"Departures is sometimes macabre and sometimes manipulative, but the way it speaks to the spirit is miraculous."
‑ Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"The scripting of Departures (by Kundo Koyama, the one-man TV-drama writing factory who nurtured such delights as Iron Chef) is embarrassingly clunky and obvious: the movie's essential hollowness reveals itself with unusual starkness."
‑ Tony Rayns, Film Comment Magazine
"Lead Masahiro Motoki apprenticed with real nakanshi for the role, and you become entranced by his performance, and the gentle clash of ritual and grief, custom and modernity."
‑ Cris Kennedy, Screenwize
"The film, mostly set in a wintry landscape surrounded by snow-capped mountains, is fastidiously composed."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"A moving celebration of life through showing reverence for death."
‑ Maggie Lee, Hollywood Reporter
"Departures is a loving tribute to the Japanese way of death."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"No doubt the best movie you'll see this year about the Japanese traditional funeral business."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"like the unfolding of a Mozart concerto"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"This heartfelt, unpretentious, slyly funny Japanese film is worth waiting for."
‑ Nicholas Barber, Independent on Sunday
"The winning nature of the performances outweighs Takita's more obvious choices."
‑ Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
"It is as polished as it is heavy-handed, and it leaves one under a spell."
‑ Philip Kennicott, Washington Post
"Death is normal, and so are responsibilities, reconciliations and retreats from what we think are our dreams. In a resolution about identifying ourselves, and loved ones, in life and death, "Departures" shows some people must be left just as they went."
‑ Nick Rogers, Suite101.com
"This Japanese film's receipt of the award for best foreign-language picture at this year's Oscars was a case of the Academy favouring bland sentimentality."
‑ Edward Porter, Sunday Times (UK)
"Director Yojiro Takita and writer Kundo Kayama ... aren't afraid to give you an emotional punch as well as a punchline."
‑ Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
More reviews for Okuribito (Departures) on Rotten Tomatoes