Okuribito (Departures)
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Director Yojiro Takita and writer Kundo Koyama examine the rituals surrounding death in Japan with this tale of an out-of-work cellist who accepts a job as a "Nokanashi" or "encoffineer" (the Japanese equivalent of an undertaker) in order to provide for himself and his young wife. Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) is a talented musician, but when his orchestra is abruptly disbanded, he suddenly finds himself without a source of steady income. Making the decision to move back to his small hometown, Daigo answers a classified ad for a company called "Departures,"… 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 laughter and family fights that break out at funerals might be part of this movie's rural, working-class eye. Departures favors farmland and old-fashioned wood-fired bathhouses over the Tokyo mania. It celebrates old-style, hands-on craft."
‑ Richard von Busack, MetroActive
"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)
"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
"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]
"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
"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
More reviews for Okuribito (Departures) on Rotten Tomatoes