Departures (2008)

Director: Yojiro Takita

Writer: Kundo Koyama

Stars: Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Kimiko Yo, Takashi Sasano, Tetta Sugimoto, Toru Minegishi

An unemployed cellist (Masahiro Motoki) takes his wife (Ryoko Hirosue) back to live in his hometown, where it will be cheaper to live in the former coffee shop of his deceased mother. 

A misunderstanding leads him to become employed as the assistant of an undertaker (Tsutomu Yamazaki), and his involvement in this largely taboo part of Japanese culture allows him to find a new sense of peace and dignity, a stronger connection with his wife, and a form of reconciliation with the father who abandoned him. 

This is a very lovely and heartfelt film with a fine musical score. 

I felt that it strained for effect at times, but I was captivated by the characters as embodied by a cast of fine performers.


The result was a moving experience about the unexpected paths life can sometimes lead us along. 


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