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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.Read more ›
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, ...Read more ›
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well done and solid entertainment. One of the better modern Japanese movies of the many we have watched recently.Published 4 months ago by peterfram
TOUKYOU SONATA (TOKYO SONATA). Meandering And Mildly Entertaining.
Rating = ***
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Film = three (3) stars. Read more
When the father loses his job, and, thus, face, he hides the fact from his family, creating internal chasms that tear them apart. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Lady O
A criminally underrated film exploring Japan's changing society in the face of a growing world and economic hardship. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Naomi F
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. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Desertman84
This is a mature, intelligent, keen look at the dynamics of a family under various stresses, particularly financial ones. It is an exceptionally warm movie. Read morePublished on July 22, 2014 by John Wallace
In this day and age of layoffs and life's unpleasant surprises, this is a must-see movie to get through it. Great actors, acting, stories, and music. Read morePublished on May 6, 2014 by Amazon Customer