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Wife of a Spy

Released Sep 17, 2021 1h 55m Mystery & Thriller History Drama TRAILER for Wife of a Spy: Trailer 1 List Wife of a Spy: Trailer 1 Wife of a Spy: Trailer 1 1:46 View more videos
89% Tomatometer 56 Reviews 62% Audience Score Fewer than 50 Ratings The year is 1940 in Kobe, on the eve of the outbreak of World War II. Local merchant and amateur filmmaker Yusaku (Issey Takahashi, Kill Bill) senses that things are headed in an unsettling direction. Following a trip to Manchuria, he becomes determined to bring to light the things he witnessed there, and secretly filmed. Meanwhile, his wife Satoko (Japan Society's 2021 Honoree Yû Aoi) receives a visit from her childhood friend, now a military policeman. He warns her about Yusaku's seditious ways and reveals that a woman her husband brought back from his trip has died. Satoko confronts Yusaku, but when she discovers his true intentions, she is torn between loyalty to her husband, the life they have built, and the country they call home. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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Wife of a Spy

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Critics Consensus

A finely calibrated WWII-era thriller, Wife of a Spy delicately balances the weight of national loyalty against our moral obligations to our fellow human beings.

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Critics Reviews

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Adam Nayman The Ringer The devastating revelation of what Yusaku is really keeping hidden-or, perhaps, trying to expose-puts a political frame around the action while calling back to the apocalyptic horrors of Kurosawa's previous genre masterpieces. Dec 21, 2021 Full Review Tom Long Detroit News The smooth Yusaku drives the action, but the film's soul is Satoko, a woman in love who just wants to do the right thing. Rated: B Nov 11, 2021 Full Review Barry Hertz Globe and Mail Kurosawa hits high marks by staring a story straight in the eyes, and finessing every narrative bump to deliver the smoothest, most satisfying historical drama you're likely to see this fall. Oct 20, 2021 Full Review Alessandra Rangel InSession Film Wife of a Spy is a layered and subtle drama that carries more significance than what is initially seen. Rated: B Mar 8, 2023 Full Review Mark R. Leeper Mark Leeper's Reviews We have seen a lot of spy thrillers set in Europe, usually with American or British spies, but WIFE OF A SPY is a bit different. This, the latest film from Kiyoshi Kurosawa, is set in 1940 in Japan, and has as its spy a Japanese businessman. Rated: 7/10 Sep 18, 2022 Full Review Daisy Leigh-Phippard Screen Queens Only a seasoned storyteller like Kurosawa could pull it off, and hes aided in his quest by co-writer Ryusuke Hamaguchi. If that isnt a cinematic match made in heaven, what is? Feb 21, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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steve c Like the wife said: お見事です。日本負けだ。 This movie wins. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Darryl M Wife of a Spy, a historical drama set in Japan during the early days of World War II, centers on Yū Aoi as Satoko Fukuhara, the wife of a businessman (Takahashi) whom she slowly suspects may be a spy for the United States. Be warned, if you're looking for a tense, taught thriller that showcases the art of spycraft, intrigue, and narrow escapes, Wife of a Spy is not that. Instead, it's a solid character driven film devoid of any bombast or spectacle. The film takes its time letting the audience get to know the characters before upending Satoko's happiness, plunging her into a world of lies and deceit. As Satoko is slowly drawn in to Yūsaku's world, her transition from timidity to confidence is almost immediate, making game-changing decisions that forces Yūsaku to include her into his plans. Hunting the couple is Masahiro Higashide as Taiji, an ambitious and recently promoted member of military police. Taiji, a childhood friend of Satoko, brings the tension to the film as his affections for Yūsaku's wife make for source of emotional conflict for Satoko. While not on screen often, Higashide plays the brooding, power hungry officer well, and shines in his final confrontation with Aoi. The final resolution is painful and melancholic as audiences are taken through the ride of 1940s Japan to settle at the final days of the war. Starring Yū Aoi and Issey Takahashi, Wife of a Spy's main strength lies in its acting. Issey Takahashi's relaxed, almost informal body language conveys a sense of confidence, of self assuredness in the actions he's taking against his home country. Takahashi is equal parts charming and affable as he moves through the film, interacting with businessmen and officers of the law alike in an easy manner that almost appears effortless. It's this disarming nature that beguiles both the characters and us the audience, and it's only when Yūsaku's plans are fully revealed that we realize just how calculating Yūsaku has been the entire time. Still, for all of Takahashi and Higashihde's prowess, the star of the film is Yū Aoi as the titular spy's wife. Aoi's transition from happy housewife to woman of conviction to something entirely different by the movie's end is played masterfully by Aoi as Satoko navigates through the twists and turns of the story. Alternating between ignorance, anger, fear, and confidence, Aoi employs a full acting clinic as she carries the film. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Wife of a Spy burns slow, but never manages to bore. Within its 115 minute runtime, Kurosawa has created a world of 1940s Japan littered with possible friends and possible foes. Never explicitly stating who the Fukuharas can and can't trust, the audience is left just as wary as the characters are in their decision making. Kurosawa bring a realistic feel to the movie, choosing to use natural light often to illuminate his characters, helping to lend credence to the period piece. The almost Hitchcockian feel of the film is expertly handled by the veteran director, and while the Wife of a Spy never quite reaches the level of thrills that say Rear Window or Vertigo provide, it still manages to craft a solid story featuring hidden motivations and crisis of identity. Overall, Wife of a Spy is a competent thriller that manages to keep the audience engaged and guessing throughout. Thanks to a shocking third act twist that's sure to catch viewers off their guard, the film is elevated from standard spy fare to something deeper and more appreciative of the subgenre. More focused on the themes of strong relationship ties and national pride than on espionage, Kurosawa's movie is clever in its approach to the story, choosing to stay focused on Satoko and her desires over Yūsaku's scheming. Strong performances from Yū Aoi and Issey Takahashi, as well as the direction from Kiyoshi Kurosawa combine to place it on a list of worthy must-see movies of 2021. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/24/22 Full Review dave d It's never boring, but after nearly two hours what did we really take away from Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 'Wife of a Spy'. While gorgeous, I was let down by a tonal change in the 3rd act. The adjustment leads to a series of choices that didn't work for me. It's not a love story nor a particularly good spy drama so it's just a middle of the road time waster that you won't remember in a few days. It's way more complex and layered than it needs to be and with subtitles that can be a bit daunting. Totally missable unless you're a Kurosawa completist. Final Score: 5/10 Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review william d What a depressing and ultimately unsatisfying ending to an average thriller. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
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Movie Info

Synopsis The year is 1940 in Kobe, on the eve of the outbreak of World War II. Local merchant and amateur filmmaker Yusaku (Issey Takahashi, Kill Bill) senses that things are headed in an unsettling direction. Following a trip to Manchuria, he becomes determined to bring to light the things he witnessed there, and secretly filmed. Meanwhile, his wife Satoko (Japan Society's 2021 Honoree Yû Aoi) receives a visit from her childhood friend, now a military policeman. He warns her about Yusaku's seditious ways and reveals that a woman her husband brought back from his trip has died. Satoko confronts Yusaku, but when she discovers his true intentions, she is torn between loyalty to her husband, the life they have built, and the country they call home.
Director
Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Producer
Teruhisa Yamamoto
Screenwriter
Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Tadashi Nohara
Distributor
Kino Lorber
Production Co
Kirinzi, NHK Enterprises, Inc., NHK, Enbu Seminar, Weroll, C&I Entertainment, Incline
Genre
Mystery & Thriller, History, Drama
Original Language
Japanese
Release Date (Theaters)
Sep 17, 2021, Limited
Release Date (Streaming)
Nov 16, 2021
Box Office (Gross USA)
$68.8K
Runtime
1h 55m
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