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Tokyo Sonata (Tokyo Sonata) (2009)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 83
Fresh: 78 | Rotten: 5

J-Horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa turns successfully to dramedy and gives a unique (and specifically national) perspective to the universal subjects of family and identity.


Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 0

J-Horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa turns successfully to dramedy and gives a unique (and specifically national) perspective to the universal subjects of family and identity.



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 12,187

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Movie Info

A typical household secretly teeters on the verge of collapse in this stark drama from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Businessman Ryuhei Sasaki (Teruyuki Kagawa) is the principal breadwinner of a seemingly happy family in Tokyo, with Ryuhei looking after his teenage sons, Takashi (Yu Koyanagi) and Kenji (Kai Inowaki), with his wife, Megumi (Kyoko Koizumi). But what Megumi and her children don't know is that Ryuhei is out of a job; his position was outsourced to a company in China, and he's too

May 4, 2010


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All Critics (83) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (78) | Rotten (5) | DVD (1)

Kurosawa is the rare director who simply lets his film dissolve into music, allowing the plot to take the film naturally to a musical conclusion.

July 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa cut his teeth on horror movies, and his flattened, formal style mines the horror in everyday urban life.

July 9, 2009 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Kurosawa's first domestic drama is music to general audience's ears.

June 26, 2009
Hollywood Reporter
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A skilful and continually surprising drama, Tokyo Sonata depicts the gradual deterioration of an ordinary Japanese family after its breadwinner loses his job owing to corporate downsizing.

June 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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The film transcends conventions of genre and cultural boundaries, and turns out to be one of the most compelling, finely orchestrated and oddly enchanting films of the year so far.

June 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comments (3)
Globe and Mail
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Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to the master) is best known for his up-market horror films (Cure, Retribution, and many others.) Here he is dealing with a horror of a different sort: the meltdown of the Japanese economy and the collapse of the soc

June 13, 2009 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a lesson in Tokyo Story. The lesson has to do with kindness and human interaction.

August 16, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

A highlight of the Cannes Film Fest, Tokyo Sonata should broaden Kurosawa's appeal in the U.S.

May 7, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

A horror film of a different sort from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who made his reputation as a "J-horror" director of intelligent supernatural thrillers ...

May 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Japanese horror maestro Kiyoshi Kurosawa applies his offbeat approach to the uniquely Japanese brand of dysfunctional family comedy in this droll satire.

May 4, 2010 Full Review Source:

Taking a break from his regular diet of fantasy and horror, Japan's Kiyoshi Kurosawa delivers here a fierce indictment of modern-day Japan.

December 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

Kurosawa's relaxed pacing and lack of concern for explaining every last thing will be a welcome relief if you've wearied of blockbusters...

July 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Playback:stl

Kagawa does the heavy dramatic lifting in Tokyo Sonata, convincingly portraying a good man flailing against reality. But Koizumi is similarly effective, and the brooding child actor Kai is also top-notch.

June 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

The film in many ways is the bleakest indictment of contemporary Japanese culture I've seen. Yet it also functions as dark comedy, fierce character study and uplifting tale of redemption.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Fresno Bee
Fresno Bee

No quote available.

June 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Inside Bay Area
Inside Bay Area

While the first half of Tokyo Sonata plays like a darkish comedy, the last half is both bleaker and more emotionally engaging.

May 15, 2009 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Although Kurosawa is able to balance tones ranging from humor to unexpected domestic violence, his fantastical transition comes a wee bit left of field, requiring his audience to regain their equilibrium.

May 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews | Comment (1)
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for Tokyo Sonata (Tokyo Sonata)

This is a very good movie, which unfortunately does not translate to being enjoyable. It follows the lives of a family - a father who has been made redundant, and is too proud to tell his wife, so leaves the house every day pretending to work, and eventually accepting a menial job as a cleaner secretly. The wife, who is actually onto him, having seen him queuing for food with the unemployed one day, but not wishing to admit she knows so he loses face. Their two children, one of whom signs up with the American army to get away from them all, and a little boy who is stealing his lunch money to pay for the piano lessons his parents would not let him take.
This movie is painfully slow, and though beautifully done, is not an experience I would like to sit through again. Maybe it is a Japanese culture thing, because I pretty much felt like slapping the lot of them and screaming "Be honest!!". Thankfully, there is some hope for this family at the end!
July 31, 2009

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Tokyo Sonata" starts with a storm bearing down on Japan which blows all the jobs of the administration department away into China including that of its 46-year old director Ryuhei Sasaki(Teruyuki Kagawa) who packs up two shopping bags full of belongings before leaving. Eventually, he disposes of them, deciding not to tell his wife(Kyoko Koizumi). His old school pal Kurosu(Kanji Tsuda) is in the same boat but has honed his lying to an art form. At home, Ryuhei rarely sees his older son Takashi(Yu Koyanagi) while his younger son Kenji(Inowaki Kai) has taken a sudden interest in the piano.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]With the exception of one sequence late in the movie, "Tokyo Sonata" is a subtle exploration of what it means to be unemployed in Japan, as jobs are leaving the country at a breakneck pace, affecting the managerial classes in inordinate numbers.(The people on the breadlines seem better dressed than I would normally expect.) None of this is their fault, just the system that has not given them any noticeable skills, just as it is not Kenji's fault that the big book of manga falls into his lap. These same people sit still or stand on lines while the rest of the world passes them by. But no matter how quickly the world moves, the important thing is to find your place in the new world.[/font]
March 29, 2009
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Fascinating and frustrating. This delicate drama from Japan has a quiet and stunning first 70 minutes, an incredibly odd and off-putting middle 40 and then back to stunning and lovely for the last 10. If not for those final 10 minutes, I would have to admit it lost me, but they're a pretty great last 10... That middle 40 though... hmmm....
March 19, 2009
Jeff Talbott

Super Reviewer

A genuine feel to this tearjerker about a family's descent and the audiences' hope that they will find some redemption and resurrection by film's end. I'm sure that this mirrors far too many stories.
May 10, 2010
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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