Wand‚furu raifu (After Life) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 21, 2009
Good performances and the proper direction for the material, but it's one of those films that feels more like an essay than an actual exploration of the subject. You're suppose to think a lot about what life means to you, and your memories and what not, but at the end you will not remember much about this film. Strong questions require strong statements, plain and simple.
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2008
a humorous, imaginative and poignant film about a way station between life and death where the newly deceased are asked to review their lives and choose one memory to keep. these memories are then recreated on film by the staff! it's all done in a simple and matter-of-fact way and the interesting mix of characters keeps your attention through the interview process, which plays almost documentary style. the recreation scenes are most charming. it's quite moving watching the characters make their peace and try to move on
Super Reviewer
March 10, 2008
Stunning look at the importance of emmories and the beauty of film making. Expertly crafted and always moving it offers a number of different views and emotions throughout its running time. Wonderful dialogue delivered in an ad-libbed manner.
Super Reviewer
½ December 27, 2007
Wand‚furu raifu Between death and eternity, there is a one week stopover. Here, assisted by counselors who have passed on themselves, you may choose one memory from your life to carry with you. If you had to choose, what would that memory be? A beautiful examination of what memories mean, what they can stand for, and why they might be good candidates for a "best" memory. Particularly good are the performances by Arata, and Erika Oda, two people who become counselors because they cannot choose a single memory. What is your own earliest memory from childhood? Is it a memory because you truly do remember it, because you've seen pictures of the moment, or because someone has told you about it? I love the scene where Oda tries the bathtub submersion technique in order to recall memories from the womb. By the way, you surely do not need to be fluent in Japanese to understand what the original title means: Wonderful Life. I wonder why the English version is not called that? The fine parallels with It's a Wonderful Life are not hard to find, and the tribute to the Frank Capra classic is heartfelt.
Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2009
So exactly what does happen once you're dead? Do you get guided to a place of twinkly lights by a grim reaper moments after they've pinched the soul right out of your body? Or do you get to pop up in front of your loved ones at inconvenient moments to remind them what they're missing? Or do you come back to scare little boys with your rotting flesh until they finish your unfinished business? Or maybe you'll be out playing baseball every night in Kevin Costners field.
This film plumps for none of these and instead suggests that after your numbers up, you go to live in a college residiential hall for a week while you drum up your most precious memory to take with you to the great hereafter. A gentle beautiful film that just might make you re-evaluate how you see your life. After all, what memory would YOU take with you for all eternity?
Super Reviewer
March 4, 2008
I can't stress how wonderful this movie is. One of my first DVD purchases.
Super Reviewer
August 24, 2007
This is my favorite movie!
July 22, 2012
I understand the message the director is conveying, but the movie is rather tedious and I just couldn't get into it (especially the "heaven's workers" using cheap props to film the memories... perhaps this was intended as a joke but it made me cringe). I liked the concept of having to choose your best memory, just not the movie itself.
November 27, 2009
What would you pick if you could only remember one event in your life? Well this film makes you think about that. It might be tiresome to watch if one doesn't understand Japanese.
½ March 15, 2009
Probably one of my favorite Japanese movies to this date. With a stunning style of shooting, an interesting plot and cast of characters. All surrounding the most interesting thought of all, "Which one memory would you take with you to heaven, forgetting every other memory you have?"
½ January 19, 2009
In After Life we are told we must choose in order to move on. In the end we find we must move on in order to choose.
½ April 10, 2007
Interesting, though conceptually flawed. I liked how the metaphysical aspects of such a subject is presented in such as low key and mundane manner. The nonprofessional cast works very well in those interview scenes. The examination of memory is interesting but incomplete. What good is a single memory if all context and identity of the person is gone? The reflexive part of the film provides a good example. The ending of, say an Ozu film like Late Spring would be completely powerless if the context of the scene is removed.
½ March 11, 2007
What if the afterlife offered you a choice? Just see this , it'll make you think about how you've lived and how you should live!
January 27, 2007
The concept -- what if eternity is a single, cherished memory relived forever? -- is equal parts alluring and devastating. Not so the movie. I expected to be as deeply affected as I was by NOBODY KNOWD, but each of the two times I attempted to watch AFTER LIFE, I simply couldn't connect. It wasn't the ordinaryness of the people or their stories-- that predisposes me to love and root for them. It was just the incredible, sterile boringness of this view of heaven as an office and its employees as civil servants. Albert Brooks did it better, and more feelingly, in DEFENDING YOUR LIFE.
½ January 21, 2007
A wonderful and endearing story of life after death. It exposes the foibles, loves, and sorrows that follow us even unto death. It is a humorous tale of a 'holdin room' where the recently departed are presented with the choice of the one moment of their lives that they will relive endlessly into the future.
December 5, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
½ September 25, 2013
Imagine you've just died. Before entering heaven, you must choose is a single happy memory from your life, that memory will be turned into a film to accompany you in eternity. What's powerful is how watching Afterlife triggers thoughts about your own memories
June 16, 2013
I think the biggest magic of this film is in that interviews and the ways of retelling that great moments. I like when during the shooting of memories the main attention is to the faces of heroes, the most brilliant was the episode of old woman trying to teach little girl a dance. I think the message involved here is to all humanity that life's worth living if you have even just one memory when you were happy, what than will automatically become the concept to which I just fell in love called Evidence of Living. To say truth i was waiting something a bit more , sentimentally emotional to say , but what it turned out to be , was no worse than what i expected, I recommend this outstanding existensial drama to all film lovers and even more , LIFE LOVERS !
June 1, 2013
Inventive but always authentic. Creative yet candid. It's like Eternal Sunshine directed by Mike Leigh. Beautiful, sad, and hopeful.
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