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As General Douglas MacArthur suddenly finds himself the de facto ruler of a foreign nation, he assigns an expert in Japanese culture -- and psychological warfare -- General Bonner Fellers, to covertly investigate the looming question hanging over the country: should the Japanese Emperor, worshiped by his people but accused of war crimes, be punished or saved? Caught between the high-wire political intrigue of his urgent mission and his own impassioned search for the mysterious school teacher who first drew him to Japan, Fellers can be certain only that the tricky subterfuge about to play out will forever change the history of two nations and his heart.
Drama War - This post-WWII-set historical drama has the hook of Tommy Lee Jones
playing General MacArthur, but his is a small supporting role to the
true lead, Matthew Fox, who anchors both the film's main
investigative plot and a love story. Some language and violence
makes the film inappropriate for young kids, who would not be
PROFANITY: 1 F-word, 1 S-word, 2 GD's, a few others. SEX/NUDITY: None. VIOLENCE: Shootings and fights. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Frequent alcohol and tobacco. ACTION: Gunplay and war combat. COMEDY: Some comic lines.
Roger EbertFull Review Good 'Emperor' is expertly photographed, whether we're following Fellers through the blue-tinged rubble of a bombed-out village or flashing back to the pastel-colored romance in the States.
USA TodayFull Review Above Average The historical portions of this postwar drama outshine the generic romance.
Washington PostFull Review Above Average This drama is serious and well made but will appeal primarily to those with an interest in the devastated setting (1945 Tokyo) and the enigmatic title character (Emperor Hirohito).
NY PostFull Review Average This part of the movie is a dramatic contrivance that undercuts the main story and slows down its momentum to a crawl.
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
The drama of war has long been prime cinematic territory -- but it is often the hidden aftermath of war that raises the most provocative and intriguing human questions. In the shadowy gap between when battle has ended but before peace has broken out, emotions are raw, nerves and hearts are on edge and clashing agendas play out, as enemies vie to cross the vast distance between the instinct for vengeance and the dream of reconciliation. EMPEROR, the first contemporary Hollywood film set during the U.S.-led occupation of Japan at the close of World War II, unfolds a story of both secret love and international intrigue in a post-war world where trust is in short supply and the stakes for the future could not be higher.
The story is based on the events of 1945, following the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when Japan's sacred leader, Emperor Hirohito, unconditionally surrendered. Faced with leading the Allied Powers' occupation of the ravaged country, President Harry S. Truman tasked the American hero General Douglas MacArthur with the epic, make-or-break job of restoring order and preparing the way for democratic elections. Yet even before he arrived in a firebombed Tokyo reduced to rubble on August 30th, MacArthur knew he faced an extraordinary dilemma: what to do about the Emperor? Should the man revered by many as a god and the living embodiment of the Japanese spirit stand trial and likely be hanged to pay for the war's brutal crimes -- or could there be any other way of moving forward while the whole world was watching?
Behind the scenes, one man was given just a few days to investigate if the Emperor's prosecution should proceed: Bonner Fellers, an American with a deep love of Japanese culture, who would ultimately help MacArthur choose a bold course. Fellers' story had been largely lost in the vast annals of World War II, known only to hardcore history buffs, until he became the hero of a riveting screenplay by David Klass and Vera Blasi. Diving deep into the historical records, Klass and Blasi also opened their story up into imagined territory -- as Fellers finds himself swept up not only into a dangerous political game, but into a driven search for the Japanese woman who introduced him to the soulful beauty of Japan and has haunted his heart ever since.