Skip to main content


Based on 32 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 75
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    Tsunashima is superb, and a never-better Collette (The Sixth Sense, About a Boy, The Hours) has a radiant intensity that hits you right in the heart. She burns this movie into your memory. show more

  • 50
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    To mildly respect Japanese Story is easy. To enjoy it would require an act of will. show more

  • 88
    Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer

    Plays with cultural stereotypes, and upends them as well. The picture starts as one thing and turns, dramatically, movingly, into something else. show more

  • 75
    Jack Mathews New York Daily News

    Japanese Story could have been a two-character play staged in front of a desert mural. It wouldn't have been as pretty, but it's that tight. show more

  • 70
    Michael Rechtshaffen The Hollywood Reporter

    This offbeat take on "The African Queen" stumbles on a couple of awkward transitions, but generally succeeds on the merits of Collette's unerring ability to carry the viewer along her constantly changing emotional landscape. show more

  • 100
    Michael Sragow Baltimore Sun

    The glory of Japanese Story is that even after a daringly abrupt plot turn, the cast maintains its empathy and lucidity without interruption. show more

  • 88
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    Gradually the full arc of Toni Collette's performance reveals itself, and we see that the end was there even in the beginning. This is that rare sort of film that is not about what happens, but about what happens then. show more

  • 88
    Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune

    A movie with surprises, some of which you should discover for yourself. But its main surprises may be the power of Collette's performance and the beautifully controlled mood and atmosphere Brooks creates. show more

  • 88
    James Berardinelli ReelViews

    Looks at isolation and the fragility of human relationships. It's a poignant, unsettling motion picture that will baffle those who have become used to Hollywood's compact, tidy endings. show more

  • 75
    David Sterritt Christian Science Monitor

    Brooks endows Japanese Story with a fair measure of suspense, pathos, and romance, despite the challenge of conjuring these qualities from only two main characters and not much else to look at in many scenes but sand, sand, sand. show more

similar movies

  • Monster's Ball (2001)

  • Country of My Skull (2004)

  • Her (2013)

  • Rust and Bone (2012)

  • Paris (2008)

Stay Connected with Moviefone

Download the Free App!

My Settings

You are currently subscribed as: {email}


Get the latest reviews, movie news, photos, and trailers sent straight to your inbox.

Weekly Newsletter

Daily alerts


You're not following any movies.

These are the movies you’re currently following.

    Update settings