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Tokyo Sonata (Tokyo Sonata) Reviews

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Elliott Noble
Sky Movies

Intended as a satirical commentary on Japanese society, Tokyo Sonata frustrates mainly because its sharper insights are lost in the hotchpotch of ponderous drama and head-scratching farce.

Full Review Source: Sky Movies | Original Score: 2/5

January 30, 2009
Jules Brenner
Cinema Signals

The story falls apart sooner than the family does.

Full Review Source: Cinema Signals | Original Score: 1.5/5

February 28, 2009
David Kaplan
Kaplan vs. Kaplan

You can't always trust the promotional accolades that accompany some film releases.

Full Review

April 14, 2009
Lewis Beale
Film Journal International

The effect of unemployment on a middle-class Japanese family makes for powerful storytelling until an awkward shift in tone about two-thirds of the way in.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

March 13, 2009
Philip Kemp
Total Film

The multiple plotting threatens to pull it apart.

Full Review Source: Total Film | Original Score: 2/5

January 30, 2009
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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

Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Original Score: 88/100

May 8, 2010
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We believe we know where Tokyo Sonata is going. We are wrong.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 9, 2009
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Each performance in this plaintive work is superb, but Kyoko Koizumi's gently melancholy portrait of the businessman's wife keeps Tokyo Sonata true and affecting.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 9, 2009
John P. McCarthy
Boxoffice Magazine

Tokyo Sonata probes Japanese society with an incisiveness and lucidity that renders it all the more relevant and universal.

Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Original Score: 4/5

March 16, 2009
Donald Munro
Fresno Bee

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.

Full Review Source: Fresno Bee | Original Score: A-

June 19, 2009
Fr. Chris Carpenter
Movie Dearest

Worth seeing and hearing.

Full Review Source: Movie Dearest | Original Score: B

March 17, 2009
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express

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

Full Review Source: East Bay Express

August 16, 2011
Fernando F. Croce
Slant Magazine

The extraordinary thing is the way Kurosawa systematically dismantles the fabrics of the nuclear family.

September 10, 2008
James Rocchi
Cinematical

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata, is an unexpected pleasure -- not only because it's a departure from the J-horror films that made his name, but because it's also a startlingly rich, funny and strong drama, without a hint of the supernatural or unearthly.

Full Review Source: Cinematical

March 16, 2009
Avi Offer
NYC Movie Guru

An often captivating and engrossing drama with a sensitive, intelligent and tender screenplay.

Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru | Original Score: 8.75/10

March 13, 2009
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

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

Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | Original Score: 3/4

May 15, 2009
Anton Bitel
Film4

It may be a departure from his recent forays into J-horror, but in this family drama and allegory of contemporary Japanese anxieties, Kiyoshi Kurosawa is still rocking a haunted house.

Full Review Source: Film4

January 15, 2009
Nick Schager
Slant Magazine

Another of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's chilling portraits of micro and macro alienation, a family drama as chillingly controlled and despondent as the horror films that gained him international recognition.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 3/4

October 13, 2008
Sarah Boslaugh
Playback:stl

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

Full Review Source: Playback:stl | Original Score: 8/10

July 10, 2009
Reyhan Harmanci
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tokyo Sonata is a bit overwrought, especially in the final act, but it is beautifully shot, features moving performances by the well-chosen cast and has the unity of vision that is the hallmark of an auteur.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

March 27, 2009
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