Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 2 out of 17
Watch On
  1. 88
    One of the more completely entertaining movies I've seen in a while--a well-crafted character study that, like a Hollywood movie with a skillful script, manipulates us but makes us like it.
  2. The film successfully walks the thin line between slick commercialism and "serious" realism. It is sentimental, but it comes by its sentiment honestly, through well-observed performances by the leads and a keen insight into the quirks of the Japanese middle-class culture.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    80
    Shohei's journey from unhappy worker bee - the early scenes are cleverly sketched to show his mundane routine without ever themselves being boring - to rejuvenated free spirit is credible, actually earning the film's final emotional wallop. Irresistible.
  4. Even when the catharsis we yearn for arrives, it's tinged with restraint. But then, the true romance in Shall We Dance? is more than personal. It's the spectacle of a nation learning to dance with itself.
  5. 75
    This is a film for anyone who prefers to leave the theater smiling.
  6. Good in their individual scenes, Yakusho and Kusakari are magical together. They convey so much yearning -- not so much for each other as for that extra something to give real meaning to their lives.
  7. A charming and moving film about a slightly racy subculture in a highly rule-bound society.
  8. 80
    While the characters, situations, and gags are all familiar, Shall We Dance?'s gentle humanity and quiet exuberance are contagious.
  9. And the dancing, as in ''Strictly Ballroom,'' is filmed with a wishful Fred-and-Ginger sweetness that gives the film a studiously effervescent mood.
  10. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    70
    The film has such a weakness for the easy incongruity (short men dancing with tall women--isn't that hilarious?) that it could almost be Australian. But Shall We Dance? also has an emotional gravity; it is grounded in a middle-aged man's nagging belief that he has one last chance to grab at life. [16 June 1997, p.76]
  11. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    Has its moments - but far too many of them. It runs two hours and seems to end five times.
  12. But the movie has a great deal of zest and charm, and Yakusho gets so exactly that crest of melancholy that is a man’s early 40s, until he decides to go for another kind of life, that the movie is infinitely touching.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. RayW.
    Jan 16, 2006
    10
    A perfect film. I give it an 11. I'm a guy, and this is as close to liking a "chick-flick" as I have ever gotten. This is the most A perfect film. I give it an 11. I'm a guy, and this is as close to liking a "chick-flick" as I have ever gotten. This is the most charming film I've ever seen. It is so removed from the ususal Hollywood style obsessed with nauseating two-cent lines and looking "baad" or sickeningly sentimental trifle. "Shall We Danse" offers a small peak into the rigidity of Japanese society telling a simple and heartwarming tale devoid of overt sexual themes or even full blown romance. A great ambassador for Asian drama. Full Review »