Toronto Japanese Film Festival 2019: Our Review of ‘Our Departures’

Toronto Japanese Film Festival 2019: Our Review of ‘Our Departures’

Audiences shouldn’t confuse Our Departures with Departures, another Japanese movie about death and a return towards a sleepy hometown. This newer movie is about 25 year old Akira Okuzono (Kasuri Arimura) and her preteen stepson Shunya (Ryusei Kiyama). Akira’s husband and Shunya’s father (Munetaka Aoki) dies, forcing them to move from Tokyo to Kagoshima. This is going to be a difficult transition for Shunya. He has to deal with school children who aren’t so good at welcoming strangers.

If Shunya is not having an easy time, we can say the same for Akira and the rest of the Okuzonos. They have to live with Akira’s father in law and Shunya’s widower grandfather Setsuo (Jun Kunimura). Setsuo doesn’t mind explaining things to the neighbors. But Akira and Shunya’s actions make the townsfolk more suspicious of them. Although thankfully, not everyone in the small city has prejudices against other people with complex family situations.

There’s a foundation here for a good iteration of the same old story but it’s too bad that that’s where it stays. What’s worse is when the movie eventually test Akira as a good parent for Shunya. Because of Shunya’s love for trains and because she needs the money, she decides to be a train conductor. But the script decides that she deals with the challenges of motherhood and her job like an ’emotional woman’.

The dramatic arcs of these characters and the score add up to a bad example of a melodrama. Some of the moments here have emotional gravity but it bogs down the rest with predictable dialogue. Cue the chase scenes as well as characters with tenuous connections saying horrible and unforgivable things to each other. If Shunya said the things he say to me, I would have slapped him more times than Akira did.

  • Release Date: 6/13/2019
This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
Comments are closed.
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-61364310-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');