Confessions (Kokuhaku)

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 16

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,279
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Movie Info

Yuko Moriguchi is a middle-school teacher whose four-year-old daughter is found dead. Shattered, she finally returns to her classroom only to become convinced that two of her students were responsible for her daughter's murder. No one believes her, and she may very well be wrong, but she decides, nevertheless, that it's time to take her revenge. What happens next is all-out psychological warfare waged against her students in an attempt to force them into confessing what she knows in her heart to be true: they are guilty and must be punished.

Cast

Takako Matsu
as Yuko Moriguchi
Yoshino Kimura
as Yuko Shimomura
Masaki Okada
as Yoshiteru Terada
Yukito Nishii
as Shuya Watanabe
Kaoru Fujiwara
as Naoki Shimomura
Mana Ashida
as Manami Moriguchi

Critic Reviews for Confessions (Kokuhaku)

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4)

  • A difficult film to like, an impossible one not to grudgingly admire.

    Feb 22, 2011 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • I have to say that, despite its effective opening premise and some interestingly spacey mood-alterations and tonal shifts, I found it overcooked and overwrought, and sometimes quite implausible...

    Feb 17, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • An engaging and undeniably interesting slant on the source of vendetta and the psychology behind violence and cruelty.

    Feb 17, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 'Confessions' may be too grimly cynical to convince fully, but its combination of visual excess, dark wit, random violence, psychological insight and raw emotional intensity is intoxicating.

    Feb 16, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • "Confessions" was a bona fide cultural phenomenon that sent shockwaves through Japan's collective conscience before the tragic earthquakes and tsunami drove people further into soul-searching.

    Oct 7, 2015 | Full Review…
  • You'll need caffeine on an IV drip to survive it.

    Feb 18, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Confessions (Kokuhaku)

  • Apr 13, 2015
    Evenually Kokuhaku/"Confessions" begins to dilate the senses and completely overrides any sense of enjoyement sustained from the film in its attempts at delivering a compelling and lengthy story and doing it in as many crammed conversations as possible. An artsy think-piece from Nakashima, the depiction of vicious school children, grieving mothers and beautiful cinematography that often lasts for only a few seconds, Confessions is great but if you're watching with subtitles like I did, be prepared to read...alot. Better than a dub though.
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 05, 2013
    A powerful film that confronts bother the characters and the audience with the matter at hand. "Confessions" is the title and so is the basis of the film which is built around various confessions that not only lead to truth but also help formulate a deadly plot in the second half. However, even though nothing in this film can quite touch the solid gold 10 out of 10 Classroom Confession Scene which starts the movie off, this film has a lot of things to say and delivers it's messages with brutality, realism, and honesty all while filmed in a non-frantic/in your face way. The second part does have it's less engaging parts, but they are often few and far between as it all comes together in the end, so it's well worth your time. "Confessions" was the official film chosen to represent Japan for the Oscars foreign film qualifiers and even made it to the shortlist right before the 5 nominees were chosen, but I'm not surprised that it was never nominated. Not because it isn't smart and well crafted, it is. In fact, it's probably one of the best revenge films I've ever seen and one of the best Japanese movies in recent years, but it's also way too controversial, violent, and could be taken in the wrong way by some of the members in the Academy. This also isn't just a revenge film and it's not just a statement film, it's both and a whole lot more. Either way, I implore you to see this film. I think it's imperative that you check this out right away as long as you are not afraid to get your hands dirty. Winner of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing at the 34th Japan Academy Prize.
    ZACHO D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2012
    The first half-hour is great; everything after that is superfluous. Shame.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 09, 2012
    A Japanese drama in its best - directed by Tetsuya Nakashima, based on housewife-turned-author Kanae Minato's 2008 debut mystery novel that won the 2009 Honya Taisho award. These events in a life of Yuko Moriguchi (Takako Matsu), a junior high teacher and single mother, were chilling and consuming all the attention of the audience. From the beginning of the movie - when she announces she will resign revealing that her daughter, Manami, was killed by two pupils in her class, whom she dubs "Student A" and "Student B" - to the end sequence where we find out what happened at the end through a series of first-person narratives from the two students, Moriguchi, and others - everything was meticulously directed, acted and scripted! Every minute was presenting the extraordinary talents of everyone involved in the creation of this work of art: Takako Matsu as Yuko Moriguchi, Masaki Okada as Yoshiteru Terada, Yoshino Kimura as Naoki's mother, Mana Ashida as Manami Moriguchi, Yukito Nishii as Shuya Watanabe, Kaoru Fujiwara as Naoki Shimomura and Ai Hashimoto as Mizuki Kitahara! I just wanted more... and more... The film received a widespread positive response globally. I noticed that on the emotional level scale there is not much movement but for a chilling movie like this, that worked as an advantage! It is an interesting fact that youngsters under the age of 15 cannot view the film in Japan which has the cast of students of around 13. It was a Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards, and in Japan won Best Film and Best Supporting Actress at the 53rd Blue Ribbon Awards, which is one of the most prestigious national cinema awards in Japan. It followed with winning the awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Editor at the 34th Japan Academy Prize. Getting the Best Asian Film at the 30th Hong Kong Film Awards wasn't unexpected either! If you want to see what is a perfect adaptation from the book, unique director's style, and outstanding acting, particularly by the child actors - do not miss this one!
    Panta O Super Reviewer

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