The Departures ( A Japanese Film Review)

The Departures: A Movie Review

The Departures are a Japanese film that encapsulates the theme of love in terms of words and actions.
This is a plot-oriented film which has a surprising element on how the story develops; from a cellist then to a job far from what he really had imagined- preparing dead bodies for funerals.

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What’s amazing about this film is that every dead person they had visited has its own story to share; stories with life lessons.
One example is about the dead woman with a son who took her for granted until she died. Her son only realized her true value of being his mother when she passed away. The lesson there? It is to love the people around you as long as you can for you don’t know when will the time stops for you.

The most challenging and most commended character is Masahiro Motoki’s role (Daigo Kobayashi) who earned so much respect because of his genuine performance in the film. It’s challenging because his character is not really a vocal type of person; his character speaks a lot yet he’s not open to what he really feels. He is also funny. A viewer can definitely sense his eagerness on learning new things; not only about embalming but also accepting the realities of life.

The underlying message of the film is about acceptance and forgiveness. Accepting someone whom you used to love but betrayed you on the later run is not easy. It takes time to heal one’s broken heart after all the long waiting and hoping for someone to return in his/her life. In Daigo’s story, a lot of people already come and go in his life but all he ever wanted (subconsciously) was to see his father- the reason why he plays the cello. Later on the film, he found out that after all the years, his father had always been thinking about him. The most significant symbols in the film are the stones. The stones that Daigo and his father exchanged with one another are symbols of their love. These stones vary from one another, depending on the shape, size and texture. And these elements signify one’s emotions and feelings toward the person who will receive these.

Because of grudge, Daigo couldn’t even remember his father’s face; his face was blurred on the first part. But through love, he forgave him and gave him a good funeral ceremony. Overall, a very touching movie full of hope, forgiveness, acceptance and love.

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