Departures

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Released 2012

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Movie Summary

Director:
Yojiro Takita
Released:
2012
Rating:
R
This Academy Award-winning drama follows Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki), a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved, suddenly leaving him without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled “Departures” thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of Nokanshi, acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living.

Metacritic Score

  • 90

    Los Angeles Times

    The film manages to be anything but dark; whimsy and sweet irony are laced throughout, a warmhearted blend that turned it into the surprise winner of 2008's Oscar for foreign-langu...

  • 70

    Variety Eddie Cockrell

    TV scribe Kundo Koyama's first bigscreen script peppers the proceedings with rich character detail and near-screwball interludes that shouldn't fit but somehow do.

  • 50

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    Overlong, predictable in its plotting and utterly banal in its blending of comic whimsy and melodramatic pathos.

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More Info About This Movie

Categories

Arts, Drama, Music

Themes

Foreign Language