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Our Departures (2018) – English Review

A young woman must take care of a young boy who kind of becomes a stepson to her when his father dies. They visit the grandfather of the boy. The only problem is that the grandfather doesn’t know that his son has died, and he didn’t know that he had a grandson.

Our Departures is a very good movie, especially for people like me who love these cute and warm movies from Japan. Only the Japanese can make these kinds of movies, and it’s always fun when there is a lot of focus on work, and especially trains that the Japanese are very fond and proud of.

Our Departures offers no big surprises. It’s a well-acted movie, but there is a big problem here, and that’s the actor who plays the young boy. Japan has the world’s best child actors, but he’s not one of them. They should have replaced him with another and significantly better child actor.

The young woman wishes to be accepted by the young boy as his stepmother. But the young boy struggles with grief, and he’s bullied at school. The grandfather is a train driver, and the young woman follows in his footsteps. And she also does it for the young boy so that maybe he will accept her and love her like she’s his mother.

The deceased father of the young boy was also fond of trains, and she believes this may be the key that lets her into the heart of the young, depressed boy.

Minus the young child actor, Our Departures doesn’t do that much wrong. It’s a tragic story we witness. But the protagonist never gives up, and you hope that she will succeed in life. Because she is a good person, and that’s a fact!

But the movie has two big problems when it tells its story. There are two scenes with the young boy where the school system fails. First, he gets in trouble when someone has bullied him, and he’s accused of hurting a young boy in the class. But it wasn’t his fault at all. And the boy’s mother is like a character from a horror movie that is rude as hell, and the protagonist says nothing. She just stands there and takes it all in. Come on, don’t be such a Japanese!

Then we have the worst scene when the poor young boy is telling the others in his class and their parents who his parents are. What on earth are they thinking in Japan? I just hope this happens in movies, because the school system can create bully victims for many years! And not least what it does to the psyche of a young boy who tells all the horrors that have happened in his life since he was born to classmates and their parents! Oh my God! And the message is also that you are looked down upon if you are a single mom in Japan. There is nothing wrong with being a single mom, there is always a reason for that. Stupid people!

Our Departures is not a perfect movie, but it’s one of the best movies I saw in 2018. It tells a moving story, and although everything goes to hell, some people never give up. And these people are people you want to have around you! And the theme song is beautiful, just beautiful.

Rating: 8/10

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