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The Twilight Samurai(たそがれ清兵衛)

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Japan · 2002
2h 9m
Director Yoji Yamada
Starring Hiroyuki Sanada, Rie Miyazawa, Nenji Kobayashi, Mitsuru Fukikoshi
Genre Drama, Romance, History

Seibei Iguchi leads a difficult life as a low ranking samurai at the turn of the nineteenth century. A widower with a meager income, Seibei struggles to take care of his two daughters and senile mother. New prospects seem to open up when the beautiful Tomoe, a childhood friend, comes back into he and his daughters' life, but as the Japanese feudal system unravels, Seibei is still bound by the code of honor of the samurai and by his own sense of social precedence. How can he find a way to do what is best for those he loves?

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What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

Mr. Yamada is confident that by taking his time and relishing the leathery arrogance that is the perquisite of a director in his 70's, his audience will follow his whims.


Variety by David Stratton

A mellow, stately, contemplative study of a stoic, brave man, but it doesn't deliver in the action department.


New York Daily News by Elizabeth Weitzman

There are a few fight scenes, but they're as unshowy as the rest of this restrained film. If your warrior ideal is Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill," you may not have the patience this gentle story demands of its viewers.


The A.V. Club by Keith Phipps

The film is a bit of a slog, but in the end, it's a slog worth taking, thanks to a strange, moving ending that reduces the samurai era's codes of warfare, class, and honor down to two men meeting face to face.


TV Guide Magazine by Maitland McDonagh

Though it includes a couple of sword fights, Yamada's epic domestic drama could easily be called an anti-samurai film. But its aim is less to subvert the genre's conventions than to deepen them, extending its parameters to include the minutia and rhythms of everyday life.


Village Voice by Michael Atkinson

Yamada shoots his movie with a grandfatherly expertise, never squeezing the drama for juice or distancing us too far from the characters -- it's a pleasure to see a movie that makes every shot count, narratively and emotively.

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