Son of a traveling jazz musician, “Tony Takitani” (Ogata) is a solitary boy who grows up to become an (equally) solitary but highly successful commercial illustrator. He leads a quiet, measured life until, at age 40, he meets beautiful Eiko (Miyazawa), a much younger woman who's become his assistant. Eventually, he dares to propose, and they marry. Eiko fills Tony's life with joy, except for the shopping addiction that deeply concerns the reserved artist... yet there's more pain yet to come.
With hardly a word of dialogue, Ichikawa's poignant, soul-stirring adaptation of Haruki Murakami's story packs in an ocean of feeling with expressive acting and two other elements: a soothing voice-over narration (adapted from Murakami's actual words) and the plaintive tinkling of Ryuichi Sakamoto's exquisite piano score. When the tragic twist comes in — and it's a doozy — we feel Tony's isolation and longing as keenly as if it were our own. Ichikawa's graceful, minimal approach works wonders in "Tony Takitani," a tale of heartache and loss, told in a murmur.