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Japanese Story (Special Edition)

107 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sandy Edwards (Toni Collette), an ambitious geologist, suddenly finds herself having to baby-sit Hiromitsu (Gotaro Tsunashima), a habitually silent Japanese businessman. Hoping to strike up a business deal, she agrees to take him on a field trip around Western Australia's remote Pilbara desert. Against the background of the outback, these two diametrically opposed strangers find themselves thrusttogether in a potentially life-or-death situation. As they journey further into the desert, they leave more of what they know about each other and themselves behind. The film oscillates between a cross-cultural journey, an emotional drama, and a haunting love story, while director Sue Brooks catches her audience off guard as she takes us down an unexpected route.


The incandescent Australian actress Toni Collette (from The Sixth Sense and Connie and Carla) has one of her biggest, juiciest roles in this delicate character study. She plays a geologist stuck babysitting a Japanese businessman when he visits the Australian outback. Some passable road movie stuff and a slow-developing romance keep the slender premise going for a while, and then a single event--which comes quite out of the blue--changes everything. This event also stops the story dead in its tracks, a problem director Sue Brooks can't find a way around. As with so many Aussie road movies, the desert scenery is spectacular and beautifully photographed. But the main reason to see this mood piece is Toni Collette, who creates a vivid character, by turns rowdy and contemplative, a woman who sees life as a lark and discovers that there may be something more to it. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes
  • Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Toni Collette, Gotaro Tsunashima, Matthew Dyktynski, Lynette Curran, Yumiko Tanaka
  • Directors: Sue Brooks
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 11, 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001L3LUO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,831 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Japanese Story (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 15, 2004
Format: DVD
JAPANESE STORY is simply one of the finest films to be released in 2003. Why this extraordinary work didn't garner more publicity and attention in this country is unexplainable, but perhaps now that this rather unique and intimate story can be viewed on DVD it may hopefully gain the access into the hearts and minds of the general populace it so very much deserves.
Australia. Geologists. Contemporary political and economic push pulls between overpopulated and commerced Japan and the vast emptiness and opportunity of the Australian outback. These topics do not seem to contain a fragile story, but that is exactly what these ingredients serve us. Sandy (Toni Collette in yet another superlative performance, this one clearly her breakthrough role that establishes her as one of today's most important actors) is a bored, frank, coarse geologist who is asked by her boss Baird (Matthew Dyktynski) to serve as 'tour guide' for a visiting Japanese businessman whose company's interest in Baird's abilities could be the important step in his future. Sandy balks but submits and meets the very rigid Tachibana Hiromitsu (Gotaro Tsunashima) and off they go to visit not just the lands represented by the company for whom Sandy works, but also the Pilbara Desert at the insistence of Hiro. There is a complex and entertaining struggle of wills which culminates in an impossibly awful 'bogging down' of their vehicle in the sands of the desert. In the middle of nowhere the essentials of surviving - and relating - create a chemistry that beautifully and subtlety bonds the two. Each gives the other the gift of an Open Heart. The remainder of the journey includes a pitch perfect climax and it is the management of this change that reveals the strength of that formed relationship.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A. H. Lynde on April 19, 2004
Format: DVD
(...). Director Sue Brooks gives us a rare gem of a film about intercultural love against the backdrop of an alternately desolate and lush Australian desert. Sandy (Toni Colette) is a gritty Aussie geologist, attractive and hard, it seems, with little patience to chaperone fresh-off-the plane Tachibana (Gotaro Tsunashima). The young man has arrived from Kyoto to look after his father's mining project. Sandy sulks at the traditionally Japanese Tachibana's commands. She's a cog in his eyes and he clearly is the boss in these parts. Brooks' straightforward direction develops the relationship between these opposites at a realistically uneven pace.
Sandy takes Tachibana deeper into the interior. At one point he marvels from a mountaintop overlooking the vast desert colors and up at the arching silver blue sky. Clearly, cramped Japan offers nothing like this to him. He has met his match in Sandy and the rugged land, and new feelings stir within him. Tachibana revels in meeting obstacles head-on as they plow forward, with his virtual `bushido' determination. The jeep falls into a quagmire, Sandy wants out, but Tachibana will move heaven, but mostly earth, to get going again, and so they do. Exhausted, they collapse into sleep in the cold night desert air. Sandy gently nudges close to him. Later they make love in a motel, curiously, deeply. We are left anticipating what direction the story will take. The next day, everything changes, the silent intimacy is replaced by sheer joy in their love and life - these are two `kids' in love, tender in expression, sitting beside a lush oasis, the river rippling, seeming to call to them. Tachibana ambiguously says of his wife back in Japan, "I will make it right".
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "mobby_uk" on June 11, 2004
Format: DVD
Japanese Story is a good film, let me be clear about that.
It might not be the masterpiece that the Australian Film Board Awards (the equivalent of the Oscars and Baftas) thought it is, winning a lot of nominations, but it is nevertheless a well acted and directed film.
A love story with a twist between an Australian geologist played to perfection by Toni Collette (and a well deserved award for her role) and a Japanese business man, played by Gotaro Tsunashima in his first feature role, the film does offer a fresh treatment of the cross cultural romantic encounters that I thought very few films approached.
Without spoiling the twist in the film, I very much believe that Japanese Story has been misunderstood and its points missed on many,and hence my desire to write this review.
A business road trip with two very unlikely characters from two different worlds, leads rather maybe predictably to a connection that is strengthened after a night lost and spent in the vastness of the Australian desert.
Many reviewers have thought that this romance was rather very quick and not quite believable, but I think differently..In real life, there are countless examples of instant infatuations' or 'love at first sight' and while this is not the case with our two leads, it somehow makes sense that the sharing of hardships between them , the subdued humor of Gotaro, the loneliness and increased interest of Colette might very well have led to love.
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