Love and Honor

Critics Consensus

The third in director in Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy is enjoyable, intricately made and well acted.



Total Count: 20


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,176
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Movie Info

Yoji Yamada's torchy Japanese drama Love and Honor (aka Bushi no Ichibun) follows the heartbreaking plight of Shinnojo (Yoji Yamada), a young man employed as a "food taster" for the imperial family. Shinnojo's position comes to a sudden and tragic end when he consumes poisoned fish intended for the clan leader and is forever robbed of his sight. Forced to give up his job, Shinnojo thus heads home and sinks into a deep and seemingly inescapable depression. Contemplating suicide, Shinnojo is only stopped by the love of his wife, Kayo, who insists that she will also commit seppuku if he proceeds. Begrudgingly, he agrees to relinquish his self-destructive thoughts, but financial problems from his unemployment linger on. With no other recourse, Shinnojo must send Kayo off to the clan bursar to appeal for monetary assistance. Nothing, however, can prepare him for the bursar's demand for his wife's body in exchange for monetary help -- or for his wife's sudden complicity in this arrangement. Rei Dan, Mitsugoro Bando, and Kaori Momoi co-star.


Critic Reviews for Love and Honor

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (6)

  • It's a satisfying story, played out in decorous period surroundings of the classic warrior tale but Yamada's 79th film lacks any hint of surprise or excitement.

    Dec 12, 2008 | Rating: 2/6 | Full Review…
  • The storytelling is all rather flat, as is the lighting. And the duel, when it finally comes, is something of an anticlimax.

    Dec 12, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • A fervent, sweet-natured tragic romance.

    Dec 12, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A very satisfying tale that emphasizes one of the genre's key themes: The deepest wound a samurai may suffer does not come from any blade.

    Sep 19, 2008 | Rating: 3/4
  • An impeccably made classic Japanese period picture in which a nobility of spirit is tested amid the most beautiful of settings, revealing the harshness and hypocrisy of a feudal society of the utmost formality and rigidity.

    Sep 5, 2008 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • It's an exquisitely crafted melodrama, moving with stately grace toward an understated yet forceful quest for revenge.

    Jul 11, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Love and Honor

  • May 17, 2009
    Love and Honor is even greater than Yamada's previous films Twilight Samurai and Hidden Blade. He has perfected his style of serene and subtle tales of ill-begotten samurai. Here we find a lord's poison taster left blinded after eating some out of season shellfish. What follows is a web of lies, slowly broken down. Each time the truth surfaces, things get a little worse. Like the films pace, the lies start as small, with Kimmura's wife saying that the fireflies have not yet come out, probably to stop him from missing such beautiful sites. Yamada even manages to make the audience appreciate the littlest insect, as a blind Kimmura is, unknowingly, pestered by a butterfly. It builds to a wonderfully tense climax and an excellent and underplayed duel. The visual lyricism and subtext of the dialogue is wonderfully scattered in the film. Despite the film's gloomy goings on, it is never a depressing film. In fact, it has an excellent sense of visual humour that works surprisingly well. Yamada has left it late in life, but his recent samurai trilogy rivals some of Kurosawa's classics.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 05, 2008
    A very very Japanese movie.. It shows us the real faces of the Japanese in the past... The story was ordinary, but the directing was pretty good... So it was a pretty good movie.. But for me, Takuya Kimura act wasn't pretty good at all.. He doesn't show the acting that he is blind people... Rei Dan acts was the good ones... She can shows the feel that she is a really depressed young wife... At last, it's a pretty interesting movie to watch....
    Sanjaya & Super Reviewer
  • Nov 20, 2007
    this is a beautiful film. the close of yoji yamada's loose samurai trilogy, this film catches a seemingly cliche theme of a man looking for sight through blind eyes and makes something extrordinary and anything but cliche. the diologue is poetic and tragic and the story is passionate and heart felt. the acting, music, and direction were amazing and the cinematography was as good as it gets. yamada should never stop making period pieces, all three from the trilogy of films with similar themes were mind blowing. this will be one of my most rewatched films in years to come.
    danny d Super Reviewer

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