Norwegian Wood (2012)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

Tokyo, the late 1960s...Students around the world are uniting to overthrow the establishment and Toru Watanabe's personal life is similarly in tumult. At heart, he is deeply devoted to his first love, Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman. But their complex bond has been forged by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Watanabe lives with the influence of death everywhere. That is, until Midori, a girl who is everything that Naoko is not - outgoing, vivacious, supremely … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International , Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Tran Anh Hung
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 15, 2012
Box Office: $13.0k
Runtime:
Independent Pictures - Official Site

Cast


as Reiko Ishida

as Kizuki
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Critic Reviews for Norwegian Wood

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (21)

The acting in the film is key. Every moment by Ken'ichi Matsuyama as Watanabe and Rinko Kikuchi as Naoko is valid yet seems distilled by memory rather than presented raw.

Full Review… | June 19, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

We cover years at a bound, but when we light, we tend to spend long, lingering moments through the camera's loving eye. This is a beautiful film to see.

Full Review… | March 15, 2012
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Tran has drained the life right out of the novel.

Full Review… | March 2, 2012
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

It becomes a film that, like its characters, remains elusive in its motivations and therefore detached from its audience.

Full Review… | March 1, 2012
Toronto Star
Top Critic

A master of mood and visuals, Tran proves an inspired choice.

Full Review… | February 2, 2012
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

It's sweet all the way up, wavers in dread and slides down to doom.

Full Review… | January 19, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Norwegian Wood

A lovely adaptation of Murakami's astonishing novel. Norwegian Wood is the Murakami book that I think shouldn't be used as an introduction to his worlk. So seeing it as a film I can perfectly understand the film's mixed reviews. This isn't the most approachable film in the world. At times it has a strong story going on, but then becomes more of a visual feast, before jumping long distances of time while trying to maintain the chemistry between characters. It is a story of change, loss, and moving on, with a sense of emptiness that is very haunting in the most meditative kind of way. Matsuyama and Kikuchi are a gorgeous couple both in terms of their looks, and the passion they clearly hold for each other. The film's biggest drawback is the sporadic use of voiceover, which can only hint at the involving narrative it is taken from. With its absence throughout the majority of the film, the fairly blunt dialogue and explorations of sexuality can seem in your face. More of a visual companion to the novel than a stand alone film, it's still a very interesting piece which will hopefully inspire more adaptations of Murakami's works.

kiriyamakazou
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

½

I can't believe the ratings for this movie are so low! I found it quite lovely and very sad. I was in tears by the end of it.
Filmed beautifully with effective soundtrack. I really liked both of the damaged females here, particularly Midori. Hard to explain the story, it's not hard to follow, but sometimes hard to understand the characters motivations.
I haven't read the book, so I don't know if that's why the negative reviews, but on its own, this is an excellent movie.

romy861
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

½

"The grief over a death of someone you loved can never be healed. We can only live with the sorrow and learn something out of it."

Upon hearing the song "Norwegian Wood," Toru (Matsuyama) remembers back to his life in the 1960s, when his friend Kizuki killed himself and he grew close to Naoko, Kizuki's girlfriend. As the two try, in very different ways, to contend with their grief, Toru forms a bond with another woman, Midori.

REVIEW
Its hard to review a film like this when you've been looking forward to it so much. While its not my favorite of his books, I'm a big Haruki Murakami fan, and I love Anh Hung Tran's earlier films - I thought this was potentially a match made in heaven.

The film is good - very good. Just not the great film I'd hoped it would be. There are wonderful scenes and great acting, and the cinematography is beautiful. But I think there are some major flaws. The flow of the film is oddly disjointed at times - while the book is very much written from the perspective of an older, wiser man looking back at his immature youth, the film seems unsure of its own perspective. The voice-over is poorly structured, seemingly aimed at filling in narrative gaps rather than giving us the older narrators overview. Oddly for Tran, a director who has been extremely minimalist in the past, some scenes are far too overwrought, not helped by the intrusive and anachronistic score. The casting is also uneven - Rinko Kikuchi is a marvelous actress, but is simply too old to play a convincing 20 year old. The character of Reiko is also played by an actress much younger than the character in the book, but the part hasn't been changed accordingly. That said, Kenichi Matsuyama as Toru and in particular Kiko Mizuhara as Midori are terrific.

I really don't know how someone who doesn't know the book will react to this. I suspect that if you are a romantic at heart, you will like it, even if you find it a bit overlong and some of the characters too thinly drawn. Fans of the book will mostly love it as it is quite faithful (maybe too faithful) to the story.

LorenzoVonMatterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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