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Tokyo Sonata (2008)

Cast: Teruyuki Kagawa, Kyoko Koizumi
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Koch Vision
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Japan, Dysfunctional Families
Running Time: 120 min.

A typical household secretly teeters on the verge of collapse in this stark drama from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Businessman Ryuhei Sasaki (Teruyuki Kagawa) is the principal breadwinner of a seemingly happy family in Tokyo, with Ryuhei looking after his teenage sons, Takashi (Yu Koyanagi) and Kenji (Kai Inowaki), with his wife, Megumi (Kyoko Koizumi). But what Megumi and her children don't know is that Ryuhei is out of a job; his position was outsourced to a company in China, and he's too ashamed to tell his family the truth. Ryuhei leaves home every morning as if he's going to the office, but instead visits employment centers in hopes of landing a new job and eats lunch at a kitchen for the indigent. One day, while waiting for free porridge, Ryuhei meets an old friend who is in a similar predicament, Kurosu (Kanji Tsuda); Kurosu ends up bringing Ryuhei home for dinner so they can discuss their fictive day at work and maintain their subterfuge. Megumi, who is not as well-adjusted as she appears, one day spots her husband in a soup line while running errands, and discovers the truth about his employment status, though she doesn't dare confront him. And as Takashi and Kenji begin drifting away from their emotionally distant parents, Kenji starts to suspect things are not as they should be, and begins spending his lunch money on music lessons in hopes of starting a career as a pianist. Tokyo Sonata was an official entry at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Daily DVD of the Week: Writes Vadim Rizov, "Tokyo Sonata is a nicely observed low-key drama just unnerving enough to keep you on edge: Kurosawa's framing is always a bit cluttered and claustrophobic, his willingness to sit and watch for a little too long makes it seem like violent disaster is always just on the verge of breaking out. And then suddenly it does and all hell breaks out". Full article >>.

GreenCine Member Reviews

Quiet Meditation on Family by jmwagner66 January 27, 2012 - 6:08 PM PST
Tokyo sonata is done by a film maker known more for his horror films so it's no surprise that he can deal with family life. The father loses his job and tries to hide that truth from his wife and kids...who are of course hiding their own truths. Everyone is so closed off it feels like a Swedish film from the 1970s, in a good way. The striking beauty of the scenes contrasts jarringly and rightly with the dark feelings each character hides. Everyone seems to be living a lie and the greatest fear is being found out.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.50)
12 Votes
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Is this that British humor?
No, actually it's mostly Japanese film.

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