Highly recommended for its expert portrayal of deep longing for something missing from one's life. I watched the first 20 minutes before noticing that the US version with Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon was available to stream via Hulu. I started watching the two versions simultaneously for only about 10 minutes before I could see that the Japanese version was far superior (this movie won a ton of awards from the Japanese Academy Awards for both male and female leads and both male and female supporting roles). Koji Yakusho makes this movie what it is. His acting skills far outshine those of Richard Gere. His heartfelt facial expressions touched me deeply and drew me in to the story. Playing his co-worker Naoto Takenaka is perfect as the over-the-top eccentric without boundaries or sense, whose passion for dance almost overwhelms him and anybody in his path; he almost steals the show for his role of a lifetime. But the sad, forlorn eyes of Tamiyo Kusakari completes the electrical circuit of this all-too-human depiction of the way in which life can leave us empty at times.
This is a really lovely movie. I am inspired to take dance lessons after watching this gem of a movie.
I really liked this movie. It is so much better than the American remake version. Very entertaining.
I love this film! Music, dancing, heart warming and witty comedy. Oh and really bad wigs, and funny faces used by one actor. Some people may hate subtitles, but don't let that discourage you. It's worth it.
There is also a remake of this film in 2004 for an American audience. Personally, I've haven't seen it yet, so I can't do a fair comparison.
Love love love this movie. Charming and utterly engaging.
This is a 1996 Japanese film directed by Masayuki Suo (周防 正行).
Its title refers to the song, "Shall We Dance?" which comes from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I."
Shohei Sugiyama (Kōji Yakusho) is a successful accountant with a house in the suburbs, a devoted wife, Masako (Hideko Hara), and a teenage daughter.
Despite these external signs of success, however, Sugiyama begins to feel as if his life has lost direction and meaning and falls into depression.
One night, while coming home on the commuter-train, he spots a beautiful woman with a melancholy expression looking out from a window in a dance studio.
This is Mai Kishikawa (Tamiyo Kusakari), a well-known figure on the Western ballroom dance circuit.
Sugiyama becomes infatuated with her and decides to take lessons in order to get to know her better.
Later, after being rebuffed by Mai, Sugiyama discovers to his surprise that his passion for ballroom dance outweighs his infatuation with her.
Indeed dancing, rather than Mai, gives Sugiyama the meaning in life that he was looking for.
His wife, noticing his odd behavior, thinks that he is having an affair.
So she hires a private detective to follow him.
Meanwhile, along with his classmates, Sugiyama enters an amateur competition.
Finding the truth from the detective, his wife goes to see the event.
Surprised by this, he stumbles and accidentally rips the skirt of her dress off.
Devastated, Sugiyama loses interest in dancing.
At home, however, his wife tries to understand her husband's new passion by asking him to teach her to dance.
Although he quits attending the class, Sugiyama is invited to a good-bye party for Mai, who is leaving for Blackpool, England.
While training Sugiayama for the competition, Mai has noticed Sugiyama's real passion for dancing, and she also realizes that she has long forgotten her own passion for dancing.
She seems to have changed from a melancholic and depressed woman into an awakened good-natured dancer.
At the party, Mai joins him to dance, asking him "Shall we dance?"
The screenplay is superb---amusing and entertaining, yet it shows a well-crafted character study.
After all, it is one of the greatest movies.
Absolutely perfect! The subtitles are no problem, because you never want to take your eyes off the screen. There is no need for added drama, a simple story about what I call 'remembering who you are', being true to what gives you balance and peace.
Absolutely charming comedy about a Japanese salaryman who hides the fact from family and friends that he's taking ballroom dancing lessons. Why is that American remakes of Japanese flicks can never match the original?
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