Maboroshi no hikari (Maborosi) (Illusion)

Critics Consensus

An understated examination of grief, Maboroshi is a deeply moving drama thanks to Koreeda's patient direction and achingly naturalistic performances by its impressive ensemble.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 24

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,781
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Movie Info

In Japan, the Maborosi refers to a mysterious beautiful light that lures sailors to their deaths far out at sea. This poetic, exquisitely photographed drama tells the story of Yumiko, a young woman trying to make sense of her first husband's mysterious death. She is no stranger to mysterious loss. When she was 12, Yumiko was in charge of taking care of her senile grandmother. The old woman wandered away one day and was never seen again, leaving the girl haunted by deep feelings of remorse and guilt. As a young woman she marries Ikuo and bears him a son. The couple are very happy and spend all their free time together. The happiness is shattered when one night a policeman appears to tell her that Ikuo had deliberately walked in front of an oncoming train and was killed. Years later, after she remarries, Yumiko begins investigating her first husband's death and learns disturbing things from the bartender he had seen just before death. This leaves her wondering what happened and why.

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Critic Reviews for Maboroshi no hikari (Maborosi) (Illusion)

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (24)

  • It is a sombre and painful drama, enacted with reserve.

    April 24, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Each character moves and speaks differently, shining with the complex inner life of a real person with real needs, real memories, real thoughts.

    July 21, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The tale is told in contemplative wide-angle shots; the absence of any spurious, unearned intimacy with the characters makes the climactic scenes profoundly moving.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The film, which was made with only natural light, draws the viewer into its spiritual mood with one breathtaking shot after another, as the camera draws back to contemplate Yumiko from afar.

    May 20, 2003
  • Maborosi is one of those valuable films where you have to actively place yourself in the character's mind. There are times when we do not know what she is thinking, but we are inspired with an active sympathy.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Nothing is casual and nothing is wasted in Maborosi.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Maboroshi no hikari (Maborosi) (Illusion)

  • Dec 17, 2009
    I knew nothing about this film before I watched it (rare in itself) and not a whole heap more after it had finished. I don't speak Japanese, so even the title gave nothing away. It's a slow film, a mood piece I guess about the aftermath of a young woman and her child's lives after her partner commits suicide.. Not a lot happens but its very lovely to look at and watchable in a subtle kind of way.
    Lesley N Super Reviewer
  • Aug 10, 2007
    moody and beautiful but extremely depressing.
    steve c Super Reviewer

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