A Streaming Suggestion: “Departures”

As a Wyomingite, I have grown increasingly dependent on streaming sites for the scratching of my cinephilic itch. You know that “…thanking his lucky stars for Netflix” bit that shows up in my blog bio? I’m not even kidding. Not even a little.

Luckily, the selection is ever-growing (at least in terms of outlets) and surprisingly fruitful. Yet lamentations about being unable to find anything good on Netflix drift by on my social media streamlets with some regularity, and that always makes me feel sad (and then embarrassed about the length of my queue). In fairness to the lamenters, it’s a lot easier to find the kinds of weird, niche-y films I enjoy than it is to find more main-stream fare — an Austrian adaptation about a woman “cut off from all human contact by a mysterious invisible wall that surrounds the hunting lodge where she is staying, alone” might not do quite what Friday night palates are expecting — but I still feel like that there are more options out there than people realize.

So, I’m going to start recommending some. I’ll try not to be niche-y …or at least not exclusively niche-y. But I can’t change my spots entirely. After all, “You can take the movie snob out to the wilds of Wyoming, but you can’t make him less of a snob.” (Or something like that.) So here’s today’s recommendation:

2008’s Oscar-winning Departures (Okuribito). Just CLICK HERE, and Netflix Streaming will do the rest! (It was available some couple-three years ago, which is how I first saw and fell in love with it. But it dropped off shortly afterwards, and I only recently realized that it was available once again. Hence, this post’s inspiration.)

Young cellist Daigo has an epiphany in which he realizes he’s been heading down the wrong career path. Retreating to his hometown, he trains for a new professional role as a “nakanshi:” one who prepares the dead for burial.


Sounds cheery, no? Plus, just to confirm everyone’s worst fears, it’s subtitled. And over two hours long. And nothing blows up (or is even mildly threatened). But it’s fantastic. Truly. And astonishingly joyful. …some tissues would not be amiss, ’tis true. But that’s not the “take away.” Not at all.

So go ahead and give this one a try. And never fear. There’s plenty more where that came from. (Not sure if that’s encouraging, or a threat.)

Oh, and did I mention that the music’s wonderful?

I almost gave this a specifically Netflix-themed title. Which would have made some sense, since that’s how I do the vast majority of my streaming. But I didn’t want to be too exclusive. HuluPlus’ contract with the Criterion Collection demands that I keep my options open.


DeparturesAttribution(s): Stock image courtesy of Shutterstock; publicity images and movie stills are the property of Regent Releasing and other respective production studios and distributors, and are intended for editorial use only.

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