Tokyo Sonata (Tokyo Sonata)

Critics Consensus

J-Horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa turns successfully to dramedy and gives a unique (and specifically national) perspective to the universal subjects of family and identity.



Total Count: 86


Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,328
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Tokyo Sonata (Tokyo Sonata) Photos

Movie Info

A typical household secretly teeters on the verge of collapse in this stark drama from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Businessman Ryuhei Sasaki (Teruyuki Kagawa) is the principal breadwinner of a seemingly happy family in Tokyo, with Ryuhei looking after his teenage sons, Takashi (Yu Koyanagi) and Kenji (Kai Inowaki), with his wife, Megumi (Kyoko Koizumi). But what Megumi and her children don't know is that Ryuhei is out of a job; his position was outsourced to a company in China, and he's too ashamed to tell his family the truth. Ryuhei leaves home every morning as if he's going to the office, but instead visits employment centers in hopes of landing a new job and eats lunch at a kitchen for the indigent. One day, while waiting for free porridge, Ryuhei meets an old friend who is in a similar predicament, Kurosu (Kanji Tsuda); Kurosu ends up bringing Ryuhei home for dinner so they can discuss their fictive day at work and maintain their subterfuge. Megumi, who is not as well-adjusted as she appears, one day spots her husband in a soup line while running errands, and discovers the truth about his employment status, though she doesn't dare confront him. And as Takashi and Kenji begin drifting away from their emotionally distant parents, Kenji starts to suspect things are not as they should be, and begins spending his lunch money on music lessons in hopes of starting a career as a pianist. Tokyo Sonata was an official entry at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

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Teruyuki Kagawa
as Ryuehi Saski
Kyôko Koizumi
as Megumi Sasaki
Yu Koyanagi
as Takashi Sasaki
Inowaki Kai
as Kenji Sasaki
Kai Inowaki
as Kenji Sasaki
Haruka Igawa
as Kaneko-san
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Critic Reviews for Tokyo Sonata (Tokyo Sonata)

All Critics (86) | Top Critics (31)

  • The movie slides into a kind of bizarre hyperreality that makes its desperation slightly hallucinatory but, paradoxically, more moving.

    Nov 17, 2011 | Rating: 4/5
  • Though far from flawless, it's an adventurous work that is both disturbing and ultimately moving.

    Sep 14, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Kurosawa is the rare director who simply lets his film dissolve into music, allowing the plot to take the film naturally to a musical conclusion.

    Jul 17, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa cut his teeth on horror movies, and his flattened, formal style mines the horror in everyday urban life.

    Jul 9, 2009 | Rating: 3/4
  • Kurosawa's first domestic drama is music to general audience's ears.

    Jun 26, 2009
  • A skilful and continually surprising drama, Tokyo Sonata depicts the gradual deterioration of an ordinary Japanese family after its breadwinner loses his job owing to corporate downsizing.

    Jun 26, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Tokyo Sonata (Tokyo Sonata)

  • May 04, 2012
    A perfect comedy and family drama all at the same time that does not tell a very intriguing story, but also specifically portrays Japan with realism.
    August S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2011
    This was actually pretty good. It was a little slow, but the story was interesting.
    Erin C Super Reviewer
  • May 05, 2010
    Goddamn this is what I needed after the horrible Couples Retreat. Never watch that movie everybody! Don't even think about it and if you do...kill yourself because that's about as low as you can get. Anyways, this is one goddamn great movie. What's great about it is that it's just so simple. Sometimes simplicity works best in dramas, not overly complicated contrived storylines, this movie is very easy to follow. Also, this movie combines both drama and comedy quite nicely into a nice little package, the movie doesn't take itself too seriously nor is it a laugh out loud comedy. Like I said it's a nice mix of both. One thing I had an issue with was that the last 1/3rd or so of the movie, things got a little nutty. There's a hostage situation, someone almost gets ran over by a car, and someone goes to prison. That all sounds fine, but in this movie, when that happens it just feels so out of place when compared to the rest of the movie, and during those scenes I felt it was just an excuse to get Koji Yakusho (who's a Kiyoshi Kurosawa regular) a part in the movie. At the end I turned out to be wrong, since those sequences actually played a part in how the movie would and how the characters would begin anew. Originally those nutty scenes were going to lower my score, but it all turned out fit perfectly so the score stays the same. With that said, this is a really great movie. It might seem a bit low-key but it's a great family movie...and by that I mean a movie about a family not a movie for the entire family. You know what I'm saying?!?!?! Anyways I fully recommend this movie.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jan 24, 2010
    A genuine feel to this tearjerker about a family's descent and the audiences' hope that they will find some redemption and resurrection by film's end. I'm sure that this mirrors far too many stories.
    John B Super Reviewer

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