Minamata (film)

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Minamata (film) poster.jpg
Official poster
Directed byAndrew Levitas
Produced by
  • Johnny Depp
  • Andrew Levitas
  • Sam Sarkar
  • Kevan Van Thompson
Screenplay byDavid Kessler
Based on
Music byRyuichi Sakamoto
CinematographyBenoît Delhomme
Edited byNathan Nugent
Distributed by
Release date
  • February 21, 2020 (2020-02-21) (Berlinale)
  • February 5, 2021 (2021-02-05) (United States)
  • February 12, 2021 (2021-02-12) (United Kingdom)
Running time
115 minutes[2]
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Japanese

Minamata is a 2020 drama film directed by Andrew Levitas, based on the book of the same name by Aileen Mioko Smith and Eugene Smith. The film stars Johnny Depp (who also produced) as Smith, an American photographer who documented the effects of mercury poisoning on the citizens of Minamata, Kumamoto, Japan.

The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 21, 2020. It is scheduled to be released in the United States theaters on February 5, 2021, by American International Pictures (the company's first film since How to Beat the High Cost of Living (1980)), and in those of the United Kingdom on February 12, 2021, by Vertigo Releasing.


War photographer W. Eugene Smith travels back to Japan where he documents the devastating effect of mercury poisoning in coastal communities - Minamata disease.



On October 23, 2018, it was announced that Johnny Depp would star in the drama film as the photojournalist Eugene Smith and the film will be written and directed by Andrew Levitas.[3]

Filming began in January 2019, with Bill Nighy, Minami Hinase, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Ryo Kase and Jun Kunimura added to the cast. Filming took place in Japan, Serbia and Montenegro.[4]


It had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 21, 2020.[5] In October 2020, MGM, through its relaunched American International Pictures banner, acquired U.S. and Vertigo Releasing acquired U.K. distribution rights to the film, and set it for a February 5, 2021, and February 12, 2021, release, respectively.[6][7]


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 61% based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 5.70/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Heartfelt yet jumbled, Minamata pays uneven tribute to a remarkable real-life story better served by the documentary treatment."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on seven critics, with reviewers such as Peter Debruge from Variety detailing the film as an "undeniably compelling project".[9]


  1. ^ McNary, Dave. "Johnny Depp Drama 'Minamata' Bought by MGM, Release Scheduled for February". Variety.
  2. ^ "Minamata". Berlin International Film Festival. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  3. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (October 23, 2018). "Johnny Depp To Star As Photojournalist W. Eugene Smith In Thriller 'Minamata', HanWay To Launch Sales — AFM". Deadline. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  4. ^ First Look At Johnny Depp As Photographer W. Eugene Smith In ‘Minamata’; Bill Nighy Joins Cast
  5. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (January 14, 2020). "Berlin Film Festival Adds Johnny Depp, Tilda Swinton, Jia Zhangke, Agnieszka Holland Movies & Hillary Clinton Docuseries". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  6. ^ Roxborough, Scott (October 8, 2020). "Johnny Depp Film 'Minamata' Sells Wide". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  7. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (October 30, 2020). "Johnny Depp Drama 'Minimata' Acquired By MGM; February 5 Release Set Through American International Pictures Label For Japan-Set Mercury Poisoning Scandal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  8. ^ "Minamata (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  9. ^ "Minamata Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 5, 2020.

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