Slant Magazine has a review. The New York Times doesn't like it. Senses of Cinema calls it
a chronicle of the endemic commodification and objectification of women in a society where identity, privilege and the retention of power are achieved through the conventionally masculine attributes of aggression and virility.
Bright Lights Film Journal says,
Oharu (1952) is a tragedy with few peers in or out of the cinema; it's 137 minutes of almost unrelieved grimness, made unsettlingly real by the director's ravishing pictorialism and above all by the performance of Kinuyo Tanaka as a woman who falls from a respected member of the Imperial Japanese Court to a broken-down whore and beggar ravaged by disease.
Time Out says,
Feminists should unequivocally applaud the narrative simplicity and the clarity with which the second-class status of women is implicitly questioned almost everywhere in the film.