Trully speaking, I felt bizarre after watching DEPARTURES (OKURIBITO), not because I didn't like it while winning the almost most credible award; the Academy award, but because I really liked it.
For me, the movie to some extent is mediocre; mediocre actors especially Ryôko Hirosue (the wife) and a predictable plot. Yes it's simple, yet predictable in many places.
This contradictory feeling may come out of its witty execution dealling with an intense issue (death and propably life) that could have been handelled through an overly dramatic way, but what really fascinating is being crafted in such light heartedly way.
The first part has its reasonable share of humor but not slapstick comedy, then it deepens gradually to have its moving and emotional scenes supported by such a great sentimental score. Cinematography is also great and has its impact on dilevering the scenes.
What seems to be great fun is discovering more about the Japanese culture and traditions in a more rural but honest way, rather than the usual image of modern Japan, the matter that is reflected even in using a classical orchestral score.
At last, a resonant line saying "What I believed to be my dream, was propably not my real dream" makes one think and may it be a turning point in someone's life as it was for Daigo.