Tora san of Goto Film Review [五島のトラさん] (2016) – Japanese Udon Docudrama

Tora san of Goto Film Review [五島のトラさん] (2016) – Japanese Udon Docudrama

(This is the Tora san of Goto film review, which is one of the movies premiered during Singapore’s Japanese Festival 2018)

Tora san of Goto is a documentary film about a family in the Japanese island of Goto that is directed by Masaru Oura and produced by Hidetomo Shirotani. It is similar to the famed Boyhood movie, except that this film took a decade longer, with 22 years of shooting production in total! And with this film being featured in one of the movie lists in the Japanese Film Festival 2018 in Singapore, we are here to take a look if Tora san of Goto is worth your time. Continue to the Tora san of Goto film review below to find out how it fares!



Tora San’s family makes Goto Udon and Natural salt for a living. He has 7 children who helped him in his various works since young. This film detailed his life for the last 22 years from the point where he began to succeed with his work to the point of his death. It is a very family-themed documentary film that aims to show us the small details of the Japanese man’s life events, and also showing the passage of time that leaves behind a great legacy to his future generations.

Screen Shot of Tora san of Goto film

Tora san and his family members, and we will witness their growth through this passage of time of 22 years…


Tora san of Goto Film Review

This film that spans the timeline of 22 years is really impressive just for this fact alone, and that the director is able to have the patience to shoot almost a quarter of the century for this masterpiece. But let’s start with the narrative, as this is a documentary film, the narrative is also pretty normal for a family-themed film. It shows the common styles of seeing Tora spending his time with his work and family, and also with the various interactions among them. The narrative is doing a great job of showing us how the Japanese family looks like, and also how they teach their children with their own stern yet loving methods. It is such a relatable film that I can feel very bonded with the characters and am happy and sad for their encounters. Then, the pacing is also well controlled, and there is no moment that I felt that it is boring, as each scene always introduce a new event or a change in the characters’ interactions with one another. I am actually becoming more interested in Tora san’s life as the film goes on.

Characters wise, there are aplenty as Tora has a big family for a Japanese standard nowadays. With his seven kids, and also various friends and cousins, the film contains enough characters to show us the vibrant-ness of the Goto people. Each of them contains their own drama which brings an interesting viewpoint to the film, such as the second daughter of Goto who ran away from home to pursue her dream and thus disobeying Tora’s wishes. Then, one of the best scenes are perhaps when all of them eventually help out their Dad’s work and then taking over them, and even the grandchildren are helping as well! Lastly, though the film employed very few soundtracks, when they do play, it will pull your heartstring, and also pulls it hard. As what you see in the film is of real people living real life, that you can really feel for them, and the soundtracks help a lot in this department. I almost shed a few tears at the end, when the film actually creates both an ending for Tora and also creating a new chapter for his descendants that will continue his legacy!


Tora san of Goto film review post image
Tora san of Goto Film Review [五島のトラさん] (2016) – Japanese Udon Docudrama
Reader Rating0 Votes0
What's good
Very real, and very relatable
Showing us the sides of a Japanese family we don't usually see
Impressive span of 22 years of shooting
Pacing is well controlled
Full of events, and scenes that just pull your heartstring hard
What's bad
The camera can be quite shaky sometimes
Tora San is one of the best documentary films to come out within these few years!
With a greatly directed pacing with its own narrative that spans 22 years, this is a masterpiece that hails from the Land of the Rising Sun!
   [Tora san of Goto film review score table]


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