Daigo, a cellist, is laid off from his orchestra and moves with his wife back to his small hometown where the living is cheaper. Thinking he’s applying for a job at a travel agency he finds he’s being interviewed for work with departures of a more permanent nature – as an undertaker’s assistant.
A truly great piece of film making.
Departures is a beautifully acted Japanese movie, which managed to utterly immerse me into the fascinating life of Daigo Kobayashi, a successful cellist, who suddenly finds that his orchestra is to be disbanded.
This life has been a safety net and the regular income vanishes leaving Daigo with no money to pay for the brand new cello he has just bought and is facing big debts. Daigo has to go home and explain this all to his wife Mika.
His confidence in playing or working with another orchestra is all but lost and Daigo decides to sell his instrument and try something else.
From this point the story becomes incredibly touching and poignant…
This movie is about death but perhaps more about life. This movie is about earning respect in a job despised by the mass, and also it is about finding passion after giving up the childhood dream. It's a perfect drama, it makes you laugh, cry and then laugh. At the end of the film, it leaves you with sweet hope!
Sometimes in life, you find yourself working a job you'd never have thought you'd be doing in a million years. For Daigo, this is more true than most. Moving to his hometown for work after his orchestra disbands, the cellist accidentally finds himself applying to be an encoffiner. Whoops.
This is an absolutely marvellous film which survives being completely predictable and unsurprising. It doesn't matter if the plot is mostly unremarkable as the journey is never less than fascinating. You buy his relationship with his lovely (but not perfect) wife and how he comes to be preparing corpses before cremation. There are many scenes of grief and crying here, but it's a comforting watch strangely.
Not in a morbid sense,…
It is hard to think about death, but in Departures the subject is treated in a masterly way with funny and touching moments.
A peaceful experience driven by fine performances and beautiful music, and in this film the music is not only sound, it also contains feeling.
Supported by powerful acting, Departures is a simple movie that is profoundly effective in its emotional impact and views on life, death, family, new beginnings, pride in your job, and finding extraordinary meaning in something you initially detested.
The story is easy to follow and understand without needing to beat you over the head with its message. The characters feel real and believable, and the cast seems so genuine and sincere in their performances. There are or two tinges of drama the film could have benefited without, but it's nothing for me to make a fuss over.
One thing the movie excels at is drawing you in during the first half with subtle, but hilarious humor, and then slowly releasing…
I cried not once, not twice, but THREE times during the film's duration. Powerful, powerful cinema.
One of the most humbling films I have ever seen, Departures is one you'll never want to say goodbye to.
I really did want to love this film. It was the last movie that Roger Ebert featured as a 'Great Movie', and I'm currently studying to become a teacher in Japan next year, so I really want to love as much of Japanese culture as I can. Saying that though, something with me and Departures just didn't click. Most of my favourite films are light on plot and very heavy on people talking, but the way Departures did this just didn't sit right and made me bored for most of the second half of the movie. The slow pace in the first half was leisurely and sweet, but at no point did anything attempt to reach out and grab my…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Shed a lot of manly tears and its well worth it. Beautiful movie :)
one of the best movies I saw in 2012, such a powerful movie
This is transcendent and beautiful.
Shamelessly emotional, Departures is a thoroughly moving and cathartic meditation on death. A truly fantastic film.
This one really sneaks up on you, doesn't it? I was watching it almost anthropologically at the beginning, wondering about what made it so hard to the protagonist to just tell his wife the truth, but then there's that gorgeous final scene, and I teared up - I'd gradually been sucked into the film without even noticing it.
I think I must be the only person not to really like Departures but whilst it's all nicely presented it seemed far too predictable and not that interesting.
Yôjirô Takita and Kundô Koyama have managed a great deal with a film whose central themes encompass love, death and above all, life. You wouldn't imagine a film centered around a man who loses his job playing cello in an orchestra(which he loves) and moves onto becoming a professional 'encoffineer' could be very bright and interesting. That is however the point of the film, the characters of the story are swung from looking down and being disgusted by the protagonist - Daigo - just as we are. What a first looks horrible is transformed into something quite unusually beautiful through seeing how the job is done. Don't judge a book by it's cover comes to mind.
It's a really lovely reassuring look on life and death and well deserved its academy award win. Thanks Thomas.