Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 100
    The movie is uncommonly absorbing.
  2. Reviewed by: Phil de Semlyen
    Heart-warming, funny, wise and profound. Not to be missed.
  3. 90
    On its own terms, Departures is a thing of rare and remarkable beauty.
  4. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    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-language film.
  5. Beautiful moments abound. In Departures, the contemplation of death prepares the way for an appreciation of life.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Though events unravel predictably, the film is profoundly affecting, thanks to a well-written story, rich characters and superlative acting.
  7. A surprisingly uplifting examination of life and loss.
  8. Reviewed by: Maggie Lee
    Yojiro Takita, who directed enduring commercial hits like "The Ying Yang Master" and "The Yen Family," has made a popular gem -- thematically respectable, technically hard to fault, artfully scripted to entertain and touch.
  9. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    It will absolutely delight the art-house crowd. Multiplexes will be crowded with noisy summer films, after all, from which Departures will represent a sophisticated and elegant departure.
  10. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Departures is built for simplicity, and, if nothing else, the appeal to decency and integrity of this sweetly old-fashioned tale make it a must for Bernie Madoff's prison Netflix queue.
  11. 78
    Gentle and comedically nuanced exercise in mourning.
  12. Yojiro Takita's movie simultaneously tickles tears of mourning as it wrings laughs about the meaning of life.
  13. The film is far from perfect but has enough going on to compensate for its excessive length and some sentimentality.
  14. 75
    The fascination, humor and poignancy of Departures, this year's winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, rests in the Japanese ceremony of preparing bodies for their caskets.
  15. Sometimes macabre and sometimes manipulative, but the way it speaks to the spirit is miraculous.
  16. Reviewed by: 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.
  17. It is as polished as it is heavy-handed, and it leaves one under a spell.
  18. Director Yojiro Takita uses the changing seasons to echo the characters' moods; the score by Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle) has a suitably majestic sweep.
  19. Departures is tender and, at times, rather squishy. It's sure to squeeze the tear ducts of anyone who has lost a parent.
  20. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    This is the kind of tastefully poignant drama that asks its audience to confront taboos and then pats them on the back for doing so.
  21. Departures is sappy and wacky – not the best combination.
  22. The acting is quite deft, if extremely broad, but screenwriter Kundo Koyama seesaws uncertainly between jokes and grief.
  23. 50
    Takita could easily trim 30 minutes of flab and oceans of tears from Departures. It still wouldn't merit an Oscar, but it would be a lot more watchable.
  24. Reviewed by: James Adams
    Departures is, well … a nice film. It breaks no new ground, offers no audacious insights or rude revelations.
  25. It will resonate with anyone who has ever buried a loved one and struggled to reconcile the myriad emotions--grief, anger, helplessness. Which is to say, everyone. And yet out of this premise comes glop. Departures needed a little more work in the morgue--like cutting to the bone.
  26. 50
    Overlong, predictable in its plotting and utterly banal in its blending of comic whimsy and melodramatic pathos.
  27. 42
    Here's a great way to start savoring life: Don't waste it on pat manipulations like this.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 2 out of 19
  1. Jan 3, 2014
    A sensação que esse filme proporciona magicamente confortável, acompanhado de sua bela trilha sonora e personagens carismáticos. E com uma trama interessante. Full Review »
  2. Jul 5, 2013
    Beautifully shot with some great exteriors; the landscape take quite a big part in this film. There were some lovely comic moments as well as some quite distressing scenes as the families go through all kinds of emotions as the say goodbye to their loved ones. I’ll admit to having found it quite touching at times and even shed a tear or two for my dear departed mum. Of course music plays quite a big part in the film and there are some really touching scenes as Daigo plays his cello out in the fields. I did find, however, that the final act didn’t quite have the emotional punch I had expected. Yes, the emotions were there, but it didn’t quite hit home the way I anticipated. Even so, it’s a film I really enjoyed and one I would happily watch again someday.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

    My score: 8.2/10
    Full Review »
  3. Mar 11, 2012
    Great music scores are what the japanese does best.
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