Millennium Actress

Critics Consensus

The story of an aging movie actress' complicated personal saga unfolds in this sophisticated anime film that deftly blurs memory and make-believe into a meditation on the nature of cinema itself.

93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 56

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,014

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Movie Info

In this animated movie, filmmaker Genya Tachibana begins work on a documentary about famed Japanese actress Chiyoko Fujiwara. Now well into old age, Chiyoko has become reclusive and shy about any publicity, but she eventually warms up to Tachibana and starts to relate her life story. As the decades pass, Chiyoko is transformed from a teen with big dreams into a full-blown celebrity, while her cinematic characters span various eras, from ancient Japan to the distant future.

Cast & Crew

Miyoko Shôji
Chiyoko Fujiwara (70's)
Voice
Mami Koyama
Chiyoko Fujiwara (20-40's)
Voice
Fumiko Orikasa
Chiyoko Fujiwara (10-20's)
Voice
Shôzô Iizuka
Genya Tachibana
Voice
Masaya Onosaka
Kyoji Ida
Voice
Shouko Tsuda
Eiko Shimao
Voice
Hirotaka Suzuoki
Junichi Ootaki
Voice
Masatane Tsukayama
The Man with the Scar
Voice
Taro Maki
Producer
Susumu Hirasawa
Original Music
Hisao Shirai
Cinematographer
Nobutaka Ike
Art Direction
Masafumi Mima
Sound
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Critic Reviews for Millennium Actress (Sennen joyû)

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (4)

Audience Reviews for Millennium Actress (Sennen joyû)

  • Sep 26, 2013
    Animation is dominated by the family friendly market, but animation have also been used to convey more challenging subject matters. Such animated films tackle more complex subjects of war, politics, psychology of a person, and among other that otherwise wouldn't be played down for a family film. Millennium Actress is one of those multi-layered work of animation that will move if you only see the surface, but further analyze everything holds a greater meaning. Millennium Actress follows a TV interviewer and his cameraman meeting a former actress and travel through her memories and career. The film narrative structure covers an entire actress life told in non-linear flashbacks relentless pursuit for her significant other. In writing that story structure does not sound deep, but in execution cover many subjects it touches on. It's as much a character study as it is a an expression on endlessly pursuing idealized desire. Each flashback involves the actress merging real life memories with those in films she starred in. As such seeing her in various characters and costumes, in different genres set in different eras, like the Samurai films, science fiction, romance dramas, and even monster movies to symbolize a human backdrop of desire. Such desires ranges from wanting to make a difference against your government restrictions, the length of protection of something held precious no matter the danger, and the ever need to a fill a gap. These emotions are relatable, but underneath it emotional study lies a subtle showing of the political policy in each era. We experience life through Japanese occupation of Manchuria through the post war era going in hand merging fiction and reality. All these memories are open to interpretation as well as serving in depth characteristic in understanding our main character. You'll analyze everything from her personality, why she think low of herself, and the true significance of her pursuit. Though this one character does touch on many subjects, but sadly secondary characters are reduced to being archetypes. Either comedic relief or explaining everything the secondary characters just disappear into the background with barely anything to contribute outside of their one picked role. The animation is primarily minimal in movement with the only time the animation becomes exaggerated is for significant plot point to be highlighted surrealistically. Art direction and technique varied in bringing different eras of Japanese history together and seamlessly transitioning to one era to another. All the backgrounds are detailed and textured. Character design is accordingly appealing, especially the depiction of protagonist Chiyoko through various stages of her life that delineates dignity and purity. Chiyoko itself transcends to some abstract form of ideal love, only unrequited, and therefore allegorically portrayed in her various film roles. Music is electronically assembled with a lot of repetition. It sometimes stands out as a bit overbearing and idiosyncratic, yet considering the nature of theme from the film it does not detract from the overall viewing experience. Voice acting is strong whether in its original Japanese recording which has three voice talent for Chiyoko character in her different age or a dubbed version almost matching the Japanese voice talent. Millennium Actress is a alternatively rewarding complex film with a vividly detail art style to go with it. Visually stunning, emotionally gripping, and thoughtfully challenging makes Millennium Actress a true work of genius in animation.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 22, 2012
    Very interesting structure. For some reason, this film reminds me a bit of Citizen Kane, which is obviously a good thing. It works on many levels.
    Hugo S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2011
    Great concept here. a older man doing a doc, tracks down a former star who he admires greatly, there also being a reason, once story she tells begins, about her career start and life before, we get transported in that world as does the man and his asistent, we see her story before big time but it also blends in with roles she has played, and films shes been in. at centre her involvment with a mysterious man she never got to know, and corruption from ones close, her obsession to track him down. in this meanwhile through her films we see plenty of action and fantasy and the old man entering as her saviour as his assistent oddly looks on, the film plays well, and it works on many leviels,
    scott g Super Reviewer
  • Nov 17, 2010
    Oh Millennium Actress is one of my all time favourite movies it's just because of how creative and brilliant it is. To see one woman's major struggle throw out Meany eras of her life. A movie studio is being torn down. TV interviewer Genya Tachibana has tracked down its most famous star, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who has been a recluse since she left acting some 30 years ago. Tachibana delivers a key to her, and it causes her to reflect on her career; as she's telling the story, Tachibana and his long-suffering cameraman are drawn in. The key was given to her as a teenager by a painter and revolutionary that she helped to escape the police. She becomes an actress because it will make it possible to track him down, and she spends the next several decades acting out that search in various genres and eras. 90% for story sometimes it can be slow but overall it's the only negative thing about the movie. 100% for dubbing and acting I guess. 100% for animation quality 100% for characters I loved all of them well of course the lead is my favourite. 100% for everything else. I liked the music, settings and it juts goes on and on All I can say is watch it its worth it Keiko's score 95-100
    Keiko A Super Reviewer

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