Written February 10, 2016
An interesting historical movie woven around a love story. The plot seemingly is about an investigation into whether to bring Japanese emperor Hirohito to trial for war crimes after the Japanese surrender in WWII, but the real story is the flashbacks to the romance of the investigating US general with a Japanese exchange student he met in college. The romance provides the background for the general's learning of Japanese culture and the real investigation in the movie is the general's pursuit of the fate of his former girlfriend. Tommy Lee Jones is so-so as General McArthur, the boss of the investigating general. The main reason to see the movie is the accurate and harrowing portrayal of post-war Japan. The devastation and horrid conditions are vividly shown and can be appreciated much more when seen on the big screen rather than on t.v. So, this is a movie to be seen in the theaters, maybe not Oscar worthy, but you won't be sorry you went.
Written July 26, 2016
My Dad is/was a Pacific area vet and saw the carnage upclose and he says that it's a pretty good evaluation of what was going on in Japan. He was also in part of the clean up crew that visited several of the devasted areas. This movie is good for history buffs and people that are interested in the McArthur chain of events. Obviously he doesn't become president but it shows the lengths that people in high places will go to get MORE power. Parts of the movie slow down some, but the movie can't be classified as an "action" movie, it's really part love story and mostly history. It's a GO for me.
Written October 20, 2016
How did it happen that Emperor Hirohito was not prosecuted for war crimes, as American hawks and even President Roosevelt wanted? Regardless of your point of view, this is a huge story. Yet this screenplay treats the turning points without drama, the influencing factors without highlight. At what I would think would be the moments of greatest tension in the story, the thread is so slack that people left the sparsely attended theatre, and I fell asleep twice. Camerawork, lighting, and music provide only minimal excitement, and in conventional, even trite ways. This story deserves so much more.
To the film's credit, the heroine is not brought back to life for a romantic ending. But why does the online blurb say the lovers are reunited?
The acting is good, especially on the part of Tommy Lee Jones and some of the Japanese generals. But I would look for another director next time.
Written February 09, 2016
The "romance" doesn't work, but it does contribute to the cultural explanations, through the heroin's family relations. It's always relevant and useful to re-cover historicevents and cultural clashes, and I enjoyed the movie nostalgicly, having served 4 years there in the '60s. One tweeter criticising the romantic involvement credibility stated that it started just before the war, but it actually started in 1932, long before the war. Again, flawed, but worthy.
Written September 30, 2016
This movie is romanticized nonsense with no sense of period or historical style.. A supposed love relationship with Brigadier General Fellows, a 40 year old (during the occupation) who meets a relatively busty, roundish eyed Japanese in college shortly before Pearl Harbor. In actuality he was a graduate of West Point and later in the Army war college in 1949 and stationed in Egypt after that. A West Point graduate would not have been involved at that period of time in such a liaison unless he was a spy. Japanese women in that period always covered their mouths when they laughed (even in the west) . The only real truth in the film lies with the written words at the end where the fate of Tojo (and others) is mentioned. MacArthur spent much of his career in Asia and understood the Japanese mind.
If you are a romantic you may enjoy it. If you have a sense of history or if you were there, you will see the flaws, that are enormous.
Read William Manchester's biography for truth.