User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 74 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 65 out of 74
  2. Negative: 5 out of 74
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  1. Feb 20, 2013
    9
    Film Director, Hirokazu Kore-eda's take on a real life event of child abandonment in Japan. In Nobody Knows, Four children are left to fend for themselves when their mother takes off. The eldest son, Akira, is left in charge of his younger sisters and brother. He is forced to "grow up" and take charge but can only do so much. Hirokazu Kore-eda's cinematic progression and pacing is slowFilm Director, Hirokazu Kore-eda's take on a real life event of child abandonment in Japan. In Nobody Knows, Four children are left to fend for themselves when their mother takes off. The eldest son, Akira, is left in charge of his younger sisters and brother. He is forced to "grow up" and take charge but can only do so much. Hirokazu Kore-eda's cinematic progression and pacing is slow but riveting. It's a quiet film, yet spilling over with emotion. It's a comment on society and family. It reflects the status and shows us a cinematic situation of child abandonment it's not just a "pointless" and "boring" film. The kids act like kids. It's moving and eye-opening. As I say about all movies: Don't go in with expectations. Be surprised, entertained, and enlightened! Expand
  2. BrentC.
    Jan 5, 2007
    10
    I just rented this movie. I was overwelmed with emotions. I couldnt stop crying at times. I felt like I was with them going thru the same pain. It is now one of the best films I have ever seen.
  3. WooChiaoT.
    Oct 16, 2005
    10
    There's a thin line between whether the movie is too long or not. Initially, I felt the same way too. But as I watched the second half, i realised what the seemingly nonsensical scenes are for - for the viewers to think and reflect. For those who lament that the show has no ending, think again. Remember why akira did not want to go to the public welfare? because he didn't want There's a thin line between whether the movie is too long or not. Initially, I felt the same way too. But as I watched the second half, i realised what the seemingly nonsensical scenes are for - for the viewers to think and reflect. For those who lament that the show has no ending, think again. Remember why akira did not want to go to the public welfare? because he didn't want to be separated from his siblings. and the movie ended timely, and unfortunately, with the departure of yuki. If they hang on the way they are, they will be separated eventually as well, perhaps in a worse manner - death. towards the end of the show, arika approached saki whom he rejected earlier for help. he did not want saki's money initially because he believed it is against his principle. but he realises in the end that when faced with the harsh reality of face, we have to compromise our beliefs. akira has learnt a lesson - he will approach the welfare public authority. at the end of the show, shigeta (i can't remember the name of arika's brother) found a coin remember? it symbolises new hope for the children. Expand
  4. JimH.
    Feb 13, 2005
    9
    Fabulous characters, utterly convincing performances, and a story of increasingly inevitable circumstances and burgeoening sadness. Very well done. See AfterLife and Maborosi, too.
  5. Darryl
    Feb 24, 2005
    10
    The annoying voice of the mother, the small room , the faces turned toward the older brother and the smile as he moved from first to second, plus a million other things. This film is a masterpiece.
  6. LizB
    Mar 25, 2005
    10
    The movie was really fantastic and eye-opening. The music was the perfect companion to the visuals. The story was so rich and full of an endless turn of events. This movie is utterly amazing.
  7. sarahs.
    Apr 1, 2005
    10
    Harrowing, gorgeous and captivating.
  8. JairoV.
    Jun 26, 2005
    10
    Reality is hard to watch. Seeing a boy taking care of a household while mom is chasing a lover or when the fathers are oblivious to the realities of their children is painful. Knowing that these things are happening in an advanced country like Japan, compounds the story. There is a welfare system in Japan. The society is always depicted as a caring one. Nobody knows is hard to believe. Reality is hard to watch. Seeing a boy taking care of a household while mom is chasing a lover or when the fathers are oblivious to the realities of their children is painful. Knowing that these things are happening in an advanced country like Japan, compounds the story. There is a welfare system in Japan. The society is always depicted as a caring one. Nobody knows is hard to believe. The landlord, the merchand at the store, the clerks at the store, the girl from the school, the buddies at the arcade, the guy who gives money to the girl for her performance....all of them know what is going on. Unfortunately... people in the pursuit of happiness have very little time to care about someone else's business. It is a bleak reality. That is the reality lived by many kids in developed and underdeveloped countries. It brings to my mind the recollection that sometimes it is difficult to be just a kiddo. Expand
  9. PatrickF.
    Feb 2, 2006
    10
    Hollywood could never make a film this moving and real. I was totally absorbed in the kids plight and never once was aware that they were acting, as they seemed so natural. The scene with Akira and Yuki (and her squeeky shoes) returning dejectedly from the train station, after the birthday adventure outside the apartment, stays with me still. A beautiful film.
  10. DavidD
    Aug 4, 2006
    10
    Donald, it's not the fact that the movie is restating a commonly held notion that kids should not be abandoned.

    Just because we hear about these things happening over and over and accept them as truth, rarely do we really comprehend what it means to the children; to grasp what it would like to be in such a sad situation. This movie took a notion and made it real. That is what is
    Donald, it's not the fact that the movie is restating a commonly held notion that kids should not be abandoned.

    Just because we hear about these things happening over and over and accept them as truth, rarely do we really comprehend what it means to the children; to grasp what it would like to be in such a sad situation.

    This movie took a notion and made it real. That is what is so shocking about it.

    With your attitude Donald, I am sure you must be doing a lot to help such children.

    Indeed, was two hours and twenty minutes and you still didn't get it's message.
    Expand
  11. RichY.
    Mar 15, 2007
    10
    The writer/director used his creative license to embellish the actual event and made it even more tragic and heartwrenching. But the fact remains that this is a stunning piece of work that needs to be witnessed. As other reviewers noted, I was completely immersed in the film I that the hours went unnoticed as well as the "acting" by these children. It was a very emotionally exhausting The writer/director used his creative license to embellish the actual event and made it even more tragic and heartwrenching. But the fact remains that this is a stunning piece of work that needs to be witnessed. As other reviewers noted, I was completely immersed in the film I that the hours went unnoticed as well as the "acting" by these children. It was a very emotionally exhausting cinematic experience but it was also one of the most beautifully told stories I'd ever seen in my life. Expand
  12. JackL.
    Jul 9, 2007
    10
    This movie is strangely mesmerizing and heartbreaking. There was no drama, no crying in the movie but I have endured one of the most intensely painful experience. Powerful movie!!! The movie is well acted and directed. There is no wasted moment in the whole 141 minutes. Every scene is well chosen and has its own effect to the audiences. There are some silent scenes in which the camera This movie is strangely mesmerizing and heartbreaking. There was no drama, no crying in the movie but I have endured one of the most intensely painful experience. Powerful movie!!! The movie is well acted and directed. There is no wasted moment in the whole 141 minutes. Every scene is well chosen and has its own effect to the audiences. There are some silent scenes in which the camera just stays still, capturing the very normal, unnoticed things of their life; and these scenes are precious. The ones who call this movie "boring" watch too many typical, bomb-blowing, gun-firing Hollywood drama. The repetition of the film IS THE POINT!!! That's how life is. Look at your life for a second. Is that what life is, a series of repetitive thing: we get up in the morning, we eat breakfast, we go to work/ school, and then we go home, we have dinner, we sleep and then we wake up again the next morning. These children and their life is portrayed beautifully real. It is NOT BORING!!! It is mesmerizing and heartbreaking. Those who say it boring, again, watch too much cheesy Hollywood film. What do they expect? A car accident? A gun-fire? A murder? The thieves get in to their apartment? Look at your life. These things don't come around as often as they do in Hollywood films. This movie is emotionally exhausted but it is never a waste to experience something like this. POWERFUL. Oh, and to Potechi who finds it is unbelievable to have a junior high/ high school outsider join the kids, I just want to say that for me, it is totally believable. You cannot use your cynical, protective, and doubtful sense of the adult to try to make sense the kid's world. Look at the details in the movie or the children who play at any park in real life. They play together. They laugh together. Only the adults are the one who are lonely, cynical, isolated and masked. The movie is utterly real and precious. A MUST SEE. What you experience in the movie maybe is what the four kids are experiencing themselves. The movie puts you in their life and make you experience it. So if you feel mind-numbing or bored or curious (about the mother) or heartbroken or emotionally drained or repressed, I think it would probably be what the children are enduring. Hope you will appreciate it. Expand
  13. RachelW.
    Oct 22, 2005
    10
    One of the most powerful and emotional movies I have ever been blessed enough to watch. Yuya Yagira's performance as Akira is perfect, hence why he won Best Actor. The young Akira's eyes change throughout the movie, from the innocence at the beginning to the hard, mournful look at the end. We see the mother's (who is played by You, a Japanese Pop Star) true personality when One of the most powerful and emotional movies I have ever been blessed enough to watch. Yuya Yagira's performance as Akira is perfect, hence why he won Best Actor. The young Akira's eyes change throughout the movie, from the innocence at the beginning to the hard, mournful look at the end. We see the mother's (who is played by You, a Japanese Pop Star) true personality when she questions Akira why she cannot be happy. This is the final tie cut between the two, and you can see it. I honestly think the flow of this movie makes you forget that it is over 2 hours long. In the middle of the movie, we can see that Akira's frustration gets the best of him when he pushes Shigeru away for the first time. In all honesty, this movie shows the pain and hardships of life through the eyes of children. That is what makes this movie so great. It makes us re-think ourselves and our beliefs. Expand
  14. Momo23
    Feb 21, 2005
    10
    That's awesome movie! It's not only sad but also hummanity. Even the movie made in Japan and subtitle in English. You can feel how sad and warm feeling is.
  15. DanB.
    Feb 5, 2005
    9
    It's a great movie. Slow, yes. Sad, yes. It has not much of an ending, and for a movie about 4 abandoned kids, it has little melodrama and minimal cutesy stuff. Which is great - you can imagine if this movie was Hollywood how many cliches and pounds of cheese would have been dumped onto this movie. Some reviewers said it may be too long, I think, but I didn't sense the length. It's a great movie. Slow, yes. Sad, yes. It has not much of an ending, and for a movie about 4 abandoned kids, it has little melodrama and minimal cutesy stuff. Which is great - you can imagine if this movie was Hollywood how many cliches and pounds of cheese would have been dumped onto this movie. Some reviewers said it may be too long, I think, but I didn't sense the length. Anyway, it's a great movie, but subdued and sad. Expand
  16. ChadS.
    May 6, 2005
    9
    "Flowers in the Attic"? Now I know how my professor felt when I handed in a paper that compared Linda Loman (Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman) to Janet Leigh's character in "The Manchurian Candidate". This spirited review cracked me up because as I was watching "Nobody Knows", "Gilligan's Island" floated through my mind. Those castaways sure had a lot of company, but "Flowers in the Attic"? Now I know how my professor felt when I handed in a paper that compared Linda Loman (Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman) to Janet Leigh's character in "The Manchurian Candidate". This spirited review cracked me up because as I was watching "Nobody Knows", "Gilligan's Island" floated through my mind. Those castaways sure had a lot of company, but their existence always went unreported when their deserted isle-guests returned to civilization. In "Nobody Knows", the title proves to be inadequate, because somebody does know about the plight of these theoretical orphans, but their ongoing descent into poverty goes unmentioned to the proper authorities by an ostracized schoolgirl, a trio of stepfathers, two convenience store workers, and a landlord. There's no rescue. But seriously, "Nobody Knows" is a pretty spectacular example of how digital video can capture realism and put the viewer in a present tense frame-of-mind. Documenting the banal routine of these kids make intellectual sense, and is not a needless art-house flourish. The lives of these throwaway children have stopped. And yes, it's mind-numbing for the audience, which is the point Kore-eda is trying to make; it's mind-numbing for the kids, too, living without structure, without hope. Kore-eda is such a mature filmmaker, only now do I realize that a baseball scene might've been a fantasy of Akira's (Yuya Yagiri) to fit in with mainstream society. Yagiri and his three siblings do an exemplary job of existing. Expand
  17. BrianO.
    May 7, 2005
    10
    Purely and simply brilliant. The most moving of all the films I saw at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival.
  18. Marta
    Jun 15, 2005
    10
    A subtle but devastating film which gets the audience inside this boy's head and heart. The acting is so natural, restrained yet emotional that it feels like a documentary.
  19. Cesar
    Sep 17, 2005
    10
    Heart breaking, so much more because its a true story.
  20. DanhN.
    Dec 8, 2006
    10
    I just watched this movie and man was it great... it isn't your normal movie. If you want a movie with action this isn't it. It was slow and calm all the way through the two hours and twenty-one minutes. But it showed how these kids grew up and bonded... its a must see if you like eastern style movies.
  21. WinifredA
    Oct 3, 2006
    10
    I happened to catch this film on cable several nights ago. In a word, it's
  22. JakeB.
    Nov 7, 2008
    10
    Amazing film, I'm pressed for a better way to describe it, but I'm at a loss for words. Absolutely amazing.
  23. MarcK.
    Nov 26, 2005
    10
    An intense and sad film that left me emotionally drained at the end, and yes, in tears. Not only is this the best U.S. release of 2005 (I know it was released in Japan in 2004), this is one of the best films I've seen in the last 10 years.
  24. MirmyV.
    Dec 22, 2005
    10
    Completely and utterly moving.
  25. Priscilla
    Feb 27, 2005
    10
    Watching the suffocation of childhood amidst the concrete of the city is hard indeed. These four children are exceptional in their performances--so much so that it's easy to forget that this is a movie. If you'd like to feel your way into their world, this is the movie to see. Resonant, elegiac, haunting, and filled with sorrow, this movie will remind you that even small Watching the suffocation of childhood amidst the concrete of the city is hard indeed. These four children are exceptional in their performances--so much so that it's easy to forget that this is a movie. If you'd like to feel your way into their world, this is the movie to see. Resonant, elegiac, haunting, and filled with sorrow, this movie will remind you that even small gestures of kindness can be life-saving at times, and that the capacity of the human soul spans well beyond the capacity of human cruelty. Expand
  26. TNgo
    Mar 27, 2005
    10
    It has been a while since I saw a film with this much humanity. That is, until I saw acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda's latest, Nobody Knows, about a quartet of siblings left to fend for themselves. It's heartbreaking, just thinking about some of these random moments subtly displayed onscreen. The look on an adolescent girl's face when her mom paints her nails. It has been a while since I saw a film with this much humanity. That is, until I saw acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda's latest, Nobody Knows, about a quartet of siblings left to fend for themselves. It's heartbreaking, just thinking about some of these random moments subtly displayed onscreen. The look on an adolescent girl's face when her mom paints her nails. A little boy making silly faces in the mirror. A little girl's scribbling of stick people on a gas bill that has been months overdue... I can go on. I wish I can put into words, or convey in some sort of way, the flowing of rampant emotions experienced when I saw these images: about how much it hit so close to home, how much it reminded me of my own family. But I can't. I guess it simply cannot be articulated in such a concise, simplified manner. You'll just have to see it for yourself. Expand
  27. Gary
    Jun 24, 2005
    9
    A great movie with a subtle touch.
  28. StellaI.
    Jan 28, 2006
    10
    Best film I have seen in years. Very emotional and takes your breath away. The increased level of depression as the film progresses is a mere look into reality that we all take granted for.
  29. SusanP.
    Oct 14, 2008
    10
    I really enjoyed this movie. The kids were adorable, and the story was emotionally touching.
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 31
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 31
  3. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Jim Healy
    90
    Yuya Yagira, winner of the best actor award at Cannes this year, is superb as the protective eldest child; he and his other nonprofessional costars are quietly heartbreaking.
  2. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    80
    Kore-eda sketches the inner, spiritual and emotional lives of the children with subtlety and sensitivity, delivering the goods after a seemingly directionless first half.
  3. 80
    I certainly came out of Nobody Knows feeling numb; only later, reflecting on the fact that the movie was inspired by a true story, did it occur to me that the numbness could have been deliberate, and that what suffused this picture was a mist of anger.