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Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) is a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and now finds himself without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled "Departures" thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of "Nokanshi," acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living. Full synopsis
The movie is uncommonly absorbing. Read full review
Beautiful moments abound. In Departures, the contemplation of death prepares the way for an appreciation of life. Read full review
A surprisingly uplifting examination of life and loss. Read full review
Though events unravel predictably, the film is profoundly affecting, thanks to a well-written story, rich characters and superlative acting. Read full review
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