A woman in waiting (Kinuyo Tanaka) of modest respectability falls to woeful and pitiable levels after partaking in a relationship with a commoner (Toshiro Mifune). Cast out from her village, she soon finds herself bearing a son to powerful lord she is forbidden to see, widowed on another occasion, and sold into a life of prostitution by her father. Kenji Mizoguchi's The Life of Oharu is bleak and sorrowful, somewhat labored, shot in beautiful black and white, and made with precise craft. Tanaka is heartbreaking as the doomed and innocent Oharu.
*** out of ****