Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16

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Critic Reviews

  1. The overall mood is stately and melancholy, the selective use of color is ravishing, and some of the natural views are breathtaking.
  2. As an exception to the norm, Kitano doesn't appear this time, confining himself merely to writing, directing, and editing.
  3. 80
    The cinematography is stunning, particularly where Matsumoto and Sawoko walk through the four seasons of life.
  4. 80
    Kitano's gentle side reigns in Dolls, a gorgeous meditation on love and devotion, but the film's hypnotic tone and beautifully formalized color scheme makes it unlike anything he's done to date.
  5. 75
    Lush and poetic, Dolls proves once again that Kitano is one of the world's most original filmmakers.
  6. A work both rigorously stylized and deeply personal. Devotees of Kitano and Japanese cinema will admire Dolls.
  7. 75
    Dolls isn't a film for everybody, especially the impatient, but Kitano does succeed, I think, in drawing us into his tempo and his world, and slowing us down into the sadness of his characters.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Dolls is an art film, and a languid, inexplicably haunting one at that.
  9. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Despite an excessively meandering final act, the drama's three intertwined stories have a cumulative impact, their affecting sadness matched by meticulously composed visual poetry.
  10. With some staggeringly beautiful photography of cherry blossoms and scarlet autumn leaves, Dolls is so enthralled with its own cinematography that it can't bear to edit itself, and during the autumn and winter segments of the bound beggars' journey, it almost reaches a standstill.
  11. The movie's pace is appropriate to its mood, which is crisp, melancholy and gently cruel.
  12. Rife with beautiful imagery and loads of symbolism, though none of the stories is particularly compelling on its own.
  13. Whether this measured exercise in romantic melancholy moves you to tears or bores you to them is probably a matter of personal susceptibility to the sting of bitter regret for love lost.
  14. Dolls risks the bank on symbology as gaudy as teen anime and as heavy as a stone temple.
  15. Dolls soon becomes overloaded with symbolism, and consequently suffocates the audience.

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