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Tokyo Sonata

21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Ashamed after unexpectedly losing his job, Ryuhei decides to keep his news a secret. His lies and personal torment go unnoticed by his family, whose lives are also quickly unraveling. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Teruyuki Kagawa, Kyôko Koizumi, Yû Koyanagi, Kai Inowaki, Haruka Igawa
  • Directors: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Writers: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Max Mannix, Sachiko Tanaka
  • Producers: Michael J. Werner, Raymond Phathanavirangoon, Wouter Barendrecht, Yasushi Kotani, Yukie Kito
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: E1 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 4, 2010
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0037FFBCM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,480 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tokyo Sonata" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 27, 2009
Format: DVD
Tokyo Sonata (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2008)

Kiyoshi Kurosawa branded himself one of the great new breed of Japanese filmmakers in the mid-nineties with Cure and Charisma, two of the best Japanese film of the last half of the last century. After spending some time directing horror films, which seems almost obligatory for Japanese directors these days (with a quick break in 2003 for the wonderful Bright Future), he has shown that he's still capable of directing some of modern Japan's best films with Tokyo Sonata.

Ryuhei Sasaki (Hero's Teruyuki Kagawi), unsatisfied with the direction his company is taking, walks out on his position as the head of the administration department. While this is initially a liberating thing, he quickly runs into the big question: how's he going to tell his wife Megumi (Kyoko Koizumi, recently of Adrift in Tokyo)? This is not an uncommon question for salarymen who have quit, or lost, their jobs in Tokyo, it seems; the park where day laborers go to pick up work is chock full of guys in three-piece suits just like Sasaki. In fact, one day he meets an old school chum of his, Kurosu (The Great Yokai War's Kanji Tsuda, who also acts opposite Kagawi in the 20th Century Boys film series), in the food line. The two of them make a pact to help the other hide their unemployment from their families, but Sasaki quickly learns the truth of the matter--everyone knows Kurosu is unemployed except his wife. Sasaki fears the same may be true of his two sons, Takashi (Clearness' Yu Koyanagi) and Kenji (Inowaki Kai in his first screen appearance), but it seems his family is too busy falling apart to notice.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 12, 2009
Format: DVD
Kiyoshi Kurosawa's latest film speaks directly to contemporary issues, that are relevant both in Japan and around the world: the economic crisis and corporate downsizing, a growing identity crisis within the so-called "nuclear family," increasing uncertainty regarding gender roles, and political uncertainties in the wake of terrorist scares and the wars in the Middle East. When a large corporation decides to ship most of its jobs oversees to China with its less expensive labor force, a middle manager is left without a job and without a clue how he can break it to his wife without losing face. So he decides not to tell her. It turns out he's not alone. As he discovers, there are hordes of out-of-work businessmen who also couldn't break it to their wives and pretend to go to work but wind up wandering parks and loitering daily in lounges, until they can safely return home without arousing suspicion. This is an alternately heartbreaking, horrific and funny film about the slow unravelling of a family, that remains together only to maintain appearances, and raises the question whether there is any possibility of starting over, of becoming a new person, of choosing for oneself rather than living by habit and to keep up appearances, and especially if such a thing is possible in an increasingly uncertain political and economic climate.

K. Kurosawa (no relation to Akira) is best known for his horror-themed films, and is responsible for some of the very best of the so-called "J-horror" films (Cure,
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey on January 8, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
`Tokyo Sonata' is a very understated, yet strangely moving film.

It is gentle and slightly sad and follows a Japanese family, which includes an undervalued wife, a proud husband who loses his job but goes out each day as if he still has one and hides it from family and a son who is desperate to lean piano despite having to secretly use his lunch money to pay for lessons.

In a very bare and pared back style you experience their dreams and failures and the inner turmoil behind their everyday lives. In the main this film has no obvious musical soundtrack to augment the scenes which makes it feel more stark and sad somehow. This contrasts powerfully with the few scenes with piano playing which make these scenes soar and resonate that much more strongly than they normally would.

Everyone acts extremely well and the direction draws out every detail and nuance in the various scenes. Japanese film are noted for their attention to detail and the small touches that show a deeper meaning and this film is no exception.

I was unsure what to expect from this film and whilst it is slow paced and doesn't spell out every emotion or feeling (like many American films tend to do) this is immensely satisfying and leaves you feeling uplifted and calm at the same time. If you are fond of world cinema or Japanese films in general then you really must check this out at some point.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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Format: DVD
Tokyo Sonata is a film by acclaimed Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa about a middle class family experiencing trials and difficulties in the household in Tokyo.

Ryuhei Sasaki is a breadwinner of seemingly happy Japanese family in Tokyo, with Ryuhei looking after his teenage sons, Takashi and Kenji, with his wife, Megumi.But trouble begins when Ryuhei loses his job as his company started moved their operations in China,a country that provides cheaper labor.He is ashamed of his predicament that he keeps it a secret from his family.That is why he leaves every morning as if he is going to work.But in reality,he goes to employment centers hoping to land another job.One day,he meets an old friend Kurosu,who has a similar situation.Meanwhile,his lonely perfectionist wife,Megumi drifts through household duties, dreaming of buying a flashy car. While,his restless older son,Takashi enlisted in the U.S. Army and his sensitive younger son,Kenji secretly takes piano lessons by paying with his lunch money and practicing on a broken keyboard retrieved from someone's garbage.As the story progresses,we begin to witness many events that will bring about the deterioration of Sasaki family brought about by unemployment.

Kurosawa,who is known for horror films such as The Ring,makes another great horror film of another kind.This time around,it is a film that explores the effects of the members of the Sasaki household brought about by the horrors of unemployment.Early in the film,I was expecting a melodrama.But Kurosawa makes the movie an exploration of the changes among the characters particularly the dysfunction brought about by the the sudden changes in the a happy family.
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