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Japanese Story (2003)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 91
Fresh: 62 | Rotten: 29

An emotional film where Toni Collette gets to show her impressive range.


Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 9

An emotional film where Toni Collette gets to show her impressive range.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 5,323

My Rating

Movie Info

Following their feature debut, Road to Nhill, in 1997, screenwriter Alison Tilson and director Sue Brooks team up again for the Australian drama Japanese Story. Toni Collette stars as Sandy Edwards, an ambitious geologist who is most comfortable when working alone. She also runs a software design company with a business partner, Bill Baird (Matthew Dyktynski), and she doesn't get along very well with her mother (Lynette Curran). While trying to sell their software products, Bill asks for her



Alison Tilson, Allison Tilson

May 11, 2004


Samuel Goldwyn Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (98) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (29) | DVD (15)

An underdeveloped film that requires all of [Collette's] ample skills merely to rise to the mediocre.

August 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lots of pictures begin strongly only to lose their focus; this one gains momentum with every sequence -- ambivalent at first, we're firmly hooked by the final frame.

August 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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Tsunashima gives a deft performance in a role that starts out as caricature but becomes full-bodied. Collette commands the screen virtually the entire time.

August 7, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
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Starts off promisingly. Eventually, though, it collapses into melodrama.

April 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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Fails to engage us in the lives of its characters because it never really introduces them.

April 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A mediocre, self-consciously arty story.

April 2, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A beautiful piece of filmmaking with top notch acting...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Despite an uninspiring first half, the film delivers a strong emotional impact in its final reels.**

August 23, 2004 Full Review Source:

A heartbreaking and complex film about human relationships.

August 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Mixing cultural comedy, survival tension, unlikely romance and an extreme about turn, it's a moving and unusual film.

July 16, 2004 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

A raw emotional journey in which character is everything -- although the scenery is spectacular.

June 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It's powerful, but fatally contrived

June 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Japanese Story gives Australian actress Toni Collette a chance to demonstrate the full range of her acting skills in a cross-cultural tale filled with many surprises.

May 28, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Tender, original and moving.

May 18, 2004 Full Review Source: BBC

The film acts as a tale of human strengths and frailty as well as a barometer of cultural diversity.

April 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

The conflict ... is all internal, and that's the problematic conceit on which Japanese Story turns.

April 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

An embarrassing bit of housewife Orientalism erotica... that easily could be summarized by Monty Python's "I Like Chinese" song.

April 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Japanese Story takes its audience on a series of physical and emotional journeys, but comes across as artificial and forced.

April 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Des Moines Register
Des Moines Register

It's not great, but it occasionally flirts with greatness. It's not bad, but it can be dull and repetitive. It's too smart to be mediocre.

March 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Audience Reviews for Japanese Story

Toni Collette is one of those hot old chicks that I can't say no to. The movie was fun, I like Aussie stuff. She makes a good Aussie with her bad teeth and leathery skin. Moral of the story: don't go swimming in Australia?
December 1, 2009
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

It's a very nice movie to get if you're in a foreign romance movie kinda mood. I didn't think the story in itself was amazing but it was worth the watch.
September 13, 2008

Super Reviewer

Love Japanese Horror, This was not a Horror flix in anyway, But I screamed as loud as any Horror Flix I ever saw, Pretty boring, not sure how it got on my rental list but will not be on my to buy list. Nice Australian scenes
October 28, 2007
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Great drama and breathtaking views of the Australian desert landscape are compacted. Toni Collette now has a very beautiful sexy body in her brief naked scene since she was once little fat in Muriel's Wedding. She has never been better than as the abrasive geologist sparring with Tsunashima's shell-shocked visitor. Yes, that scene with her traumatised character still raises hairs on the neck.
April 9, 2007
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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