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Dolls (2002)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 10,113

My Rating

Movie Info

Master filmmaker Takeshi Kitano returns behind the camera for the first time since his indifferently received English-language effort Brother (2000) with this operatic tale of lost love. Dolls takes puppeteering as its overriding motif -- specifically, the kind practiced in Bunraku doll theater performances -- opening each section of his film with a story provided by the puppets and their masters, which relates thematically to the action provided by the live characters. Chief among those tales

Mar 8, 2005

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All Critics (44) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (10) | DVD (11)

The cinematography is colorful and sweeping, the editing and storytelling simple and pure.

March 11, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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It's all as passionate, refined, and insistently sad as Bunraku puppetry itself.

February 11, 2005 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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Dolls isn't a film for everybody, especially the impatient, but Kitano does succeed, I think, in drawing us into his tempo and his world, and slowing us down into the sadness of his characters.

February 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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A work both rigorously stylized and deeply personal.

February 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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Devoted fans of Kitano will want to see Dolls. Others may be put off by the dirgelike pace (Kitano takes full credit for the editing) and a ghastly, mood-destroying pop-music number performed by Fukada.

January 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's pace is appropriate to its mood, which is crisp, melancholy and gently cruel.

January 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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There's a clinical stillness to the way Kitano suggests the inevitability of loss, his always-arresting visuals and the disembodied, ambient soundtrack framing the characters at a quizzical distance.

November 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine Australasia
Empire Magazine Australasia

The stories have a fateful, lonely feel, like one of Wong Kar-wai's missed connections. Yet their tragic timelessness, and the lovely, aching pace at which they are told, bring them to a level of extraordinary beauty.

November 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A tripy, fascinating film mixing puppeteering with live action.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

...this anthology of tragic tales is never dull and always a feast for the eyes.

May 28, 2005 Full Review
New Times

Kitsch art.

May 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

pretentious and as hollow as the puppets

March 19, 2005 Full Review Source:

There aren't many movies more visually beautiful than Takeshi Kitano's odd but moving "Dolls."

March 6, 2005 Full Review Source:

Fascinating bits of behavior are scattered throughout these stories, but it cannot be said that the characters are fleshed out beyond their sentimental symbolism.

January 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

If occasional pretentious doodling like this is what it takes to keep Kitano's copious creative juices flowing, so be it. The Great Ones are allowed the occasional snoozer.

January 20, 2005 Full Review Source: The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

Since Dolls is told in a somnambulist manner, the stories become languid and staid.

January 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Kitano succeeds on the strength of his images, but it's a very near thing.

January 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Weighed down by heavy-handed sentiment and largely free of [Kitano's] trademark dark humor, Dolls is still a compelling work from a genuine talent.

December 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Probably one of the most unusual testaments to love's enduring power in recent memory.

December 22, 2004

Audience Reviews for Dolls

Takeshi Kitano brings us three stories about the decisions we make that affect our whole lives. The key element here is that we sometimes make the wrong decision due to emotions involved, not to mention pressure from others, and framed as a bunraku performance, Japan's national art-form involving elaborate puppets.

Dolls is Kitano's quietest and most accomplished film so far, in my humble opinion. Given the unhappy consequences for many of the love-struck protaganists, this may lead the viewer to believe that the idea of love, although lasting, is bitter-sweet as Kitano goes from making his well known violent films to one of pain involving what we do to ourselves when we take the wrong path in life. Be careful what you wish for
December 12, 2008
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

Drags a bit in some parts, yet Kitano knows how to keep things simple and direct to the point.
January 18, 2008
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

I nearly stopped watching this in the first ten minutes, but luckily once the Japanese dolls were put away, it became more of a Kitano film. Three stories about love, though you'd have to be Pollyanna to find much goodness in the co-dependent relationships of the three couples who are melancholic or just plain irritating, depending on your POV.
Watch with caution if you're suffering unrequited love. It might give you all sorts of ideas.

March 25, 2011
Lesley N

Super Reviewer

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