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Harmonium(淵に立つ)

A seemingly ideal family welcomes a mysterious guest into their home; this guest is Mr. Yasaka, an ex-convict and old acquaintance of Toshio, the father of the house. The longer Mr. Yasaka spends in the house, the more discord he creates, as he begins to meddle in Toshio’s family life…
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

80

Total Film by

Fukada contrasts understated realism with haunting, dreamlike images. Unsettling and morally complex.
83

The A.V. Club by A.A. Dowd

The actors navigate their uncertain motivations with finesse — especially Asano, who captures not just the shell-shocked daze of someone trying to readjust to life on the outside but also a carefully, unnervingly suppressed wellspring of resentment.
88

Slant Magazine by Chuck Bowen

Throughout Harmonium, writer-director Kôji Fukada works in a rapt and lucid hyper-textural style that suggests a merging of the sensibilities of Alfred Hitchcock and Yasujirô Ozu.
83

The Playlist by Jessica Kiang

Harmonium builds to something peculiar and unusual by its close, and has a melancholic, discordant, uneasy sustain that lingers long after.
80

The Guardian by Leslie Felperin

Although the story unfolds at a steady pace over two hours, the filmmaking is sufficiently elegant and metronomically efficient as to make every minute gripping, especially after the tragic twist halfway through the story.
90

Variety by Maggie Lee

Shot in a meticulous yet unmannered style, the film provides the veteran cast with an ideal framework to mount masterful performances.
90

Screen International by Sarah Ward

The film’s insights into the isolation evident in the relationships most take for granted — marriages, parent-child connections and long-term friendships — don’t merely hit their targets; they smash them with a sledgehammer.

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