Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 17 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Tokyo Sonata is a portrait of a seemingly ordinary Japanese family. The father who abruptly loses his job conceals the truth from his family; the eldest son in college hardly returns home; the youngest son furtively takes piano lessons without telling his parents; and the mother, who knows deep down that her role is to keep the family together, cannot find the will to do so. From the exterior, all is normal and the same. But somehow, a single, unforeseeable chasm has appeared within the family, threatening to disintegrate them. Director Kurosawa’s use of light and dark to express a sense of simultaneous hope and horror verges on awe-inspiring and the ending will leave you enthralled. (Regent Releasing) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Reyhan Harmanci
    Kurosawa's film is heavyweight fare: disturbing, slightly over the top, but satisfying, like a rich meal with a powerful aftertaste.
  2. Known for distinctive horror movies like "Cure" and "Pulse," inventive Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa finds just the right melancholy tone to suit a new and all too familiar kind of horror: economic downsizing.
  3. Bold, acutely observant and universal in its wide-ranging concerns and implications.
  4. Tokyo Sonata, looks like a family melodrama -- if a distinctly eccentric variant on the typical domestic affair -- there is more than a touch of horror to its story of a salaryman whose downsizing sets off a series of cataclysmic events.
  5. 75
    Although envisioned before the world economy went to hell, Tokyo Sonata is relevant to the mess we're in now.
  6. A disconcerting melange, Tokyo Sonata begins rather conventionally before spinning into black comic, almost fantastical, terrain.
  7. Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is better known for horror films; this is a movie where the horror is internalized, and hideously truthful.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Apr 7, 2011
    An expertly crafted and haunting family drama from the former master of J-horror. Here he proofs the harsh realities of life are scarier and more surreal than anything paranormal. Expand
  2. StanG
    Jun 9, 2009
    Director Kurosawa explores the nightmare of a family rent asunder, primarily due to the father losing his mid-level management job. The film has one of the most perfect endings I've ever seen in cinema. Expand
  3. Feb 14, 2011
    "Tokyo Sonata" is microcosm of Japan's "Lost Decade" that uses an average middle-class family to tell a story that challenges tradition and extols renewal and discovery. I admit that when I received the DVD in the mail I thought the title was "Tokyo Santa" so maybe anything would have been a pleasant surprise, but I genuinely feel this film is excellent. The acting was more-than-believable, even with two youth actors. What I enjoyed most, perhaps what I like about foreign films in general, is the words unsaid were more profound than the dialogue. This isn't a date movie, but if you want to take a look at the human condition for a few hours, I highly recommend it. Expand