Critic Consensus: Ikiru is a well-acted and deeply moving humanist tale about a man facing his own mortality, one of legendary director Akira Kurosawa's most intimate films.
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as Kanji Wantanabe
as Toyo Odagiri, employee
as Mitsuo Watanabe, Kanji's son
as Kazue Watanabe, Mitsuo's wife
as Kiichi Watanabe
as City Assemblyman
as Tatsu Watanabe
as Subordinate Clerk
as Hayoshi, the Maid
as Deputy Mayor
as City Assemblyman
as Gang Boss
as Gang Member
as Park Section Chief
as Old Man in Bar
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Critic Reviews for Ikiru
It illuminates a reeling society while telling a story of deep human emotion.
Kurosawa achieves the piercing emotion and poetry of the Italian neorealists, but by opposite means: he doesn't make the camera disappear; instead... he deploys his camera so sharply and unerringly that it seems to take X-rays of the spirit.
A masterwork of burning social conscience and hard-eyed psychological realism.
Kurosawa performs a tour-de-force in keeping a dramatic thread throughout and avoiding the mawkish.
Audience Reviews for Ikiru
A special, bittersweet and sometimes surprisingly funny celebration of the act of living, beautifully directed and with a wonderful performance by Takashi Shimura as an awkward old protagonist who should inspire us all to reconsider the way we have been living our lives.
A well crafted film with a heartfelt story that is poignant, deep, this masterpiece of a film laments life's biggest truths about our own measly, mortal existence. I haven't seen a modern movie quite like it. Ikiru is a brilliant film because of the ingenious cinematography, one would certainly agree to such; that it concerns us, because the problems faced are very real and speaks of truth, however sad(or liberating) as one may see fit. Ultimately, it works because it succeeds in doling out quintessential truths about our humanity, of our very lives.
After being lied to by his doctor, a bureaucrat discovers that he has inoperable stomach cancer, and he searches hedonism, a co-worker, and his work for fulfillment before he meets his end. This film is simply marvelous. The performance by Takashi Shimura as the dying man is remarkable for his quiet sadness and determination. The scenes in which he sings on the swing and in the bar are nearly magical in their ability to draw the audience in to Watanabe's mental state. His outbursts to Toyo are passionate and riveting. Kurosawa's direction is at top form. I think my favorite shot is the foregrounding of the dying man and his co-worker at a restaurant while in the background there is a joyous birthday celebration. It is pure visual poetry, as the background action carries on, each of its participants doomed to one day be in the foreground. What is Kurosawa saying with this film? It can't simply be reduced to another "carpe diem" anthem, though there are elements of this. Rather, I think Kurosawa realizes that we've all heard "carpe diem" before, but the tragedy of life is that we fail to recognize its exigence until it's too late. We see this both in Watanabe's reaction to his impending death and the wake scene in the third act. Overall, this is undoubtedly Kurosawa's best film, focusing on the frailty of the human condition and the temporal limitations of life.
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