The Life of Oharu (Saikaku ichidai onna)
The Life of Oharu (Saikaku ichidai onna) (1952)

Life of Oharu features Kinuyo Tanaka in the title role. Oharu is a middle-aged prostitute in 17th century Japan. As she prays before a statue of Buddha, Oharu reviews her past. Her road to degradation began when, as a teenager, she… More

Directed By:
Rated: G
Running Time:
Release Date: April 3, 1952
DVD Release Date: May 13, 1997
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Richard Brody
New Yorker

Mizoguchi's limpid heartbreaker is also a fierce denunciation of the subjugation of women, the power of wealth, and Japan's unjust though splendid traditions.

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Christopher Long
Movie Metropolis

Oharu can only endure, and the viewer must endure along with her.

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Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

... brilliantly realized without moralizing.

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Christopher Machell

The Life of Oharu is a quiet and stately picture, but no less a passionate, searing critique of society's treatment of women

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Scott Tobias
The Dissolve

It's a devastating journey, and for Mizoguchi, a direct, blunt statement of purpose.

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Ed Gonzalez
Slant Magazine

The spiritually complete Life of Oharu represents the Holy Grail of Japanese cinema.

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Jennie Kermode
Eye for Film

What really elevates Mizoguchi's work above other films of this type ... is his abstraction of the problem, looking beyond individuals at a set of behaviours and ideals that have no clear progenitor.

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Tim Brayton
Antagony & Ecstasy

Though the film is wrenching like few others, this is only because it is also a masterpiece.

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Anton Bitel
Movie Gazette

A beautiful, harrowing portrayal of female servitude and degradation in seventeenth century Japan.

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Flixster Audience Score: 89% Flixster User Reviews
Luke Baldock
'Life of Oharu' is a stunning feature film, one which could never be matched in todays cinema. Kinuyo Tanaka takes on the daunting task of portraying… More
John Ballantine
Cripes. Can't anything go right for this woman. Here we have the rags to riches to rags to rags to riches to rags to rags story of poor Oharu who just… More
Eric Broome
After recently seeing "Sansho the Bailiff" and the spectacular "Ugetsu," I was disappointed with Mizoguchi's "The Life of… More
Antonius Block
As this film opens, Oharu (Kinuyo Tanaka), a 50 year old prostitute, goes into a Buddhist temple and looks back at her life. We see that she was once loved,… More
Walter M.
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Life of Oharu," Oharu(Kinuyo Tanaka) is a fifty-year old prostitute of noble birth who once upon a time lived at the… More