136 Min. | Drama | November 1953
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Starring: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura
Tokyo Story Review
Tokyo Story takes a deep look at familial relations in postwar Japan. Simply, it boils down to this: two aging parents live far away from their children, who are in a quickly modernizing Tokyo. The children in Tokyo are quite selfish and focused on their own busy lives in the hustle-and-bustle of the city. The key character in Tokyo Story, though, is Noriko, the widow of one of the parents’ sons who died in the war. Noriko turns out to be more active with her husband’s parents than their own children are. The parents decide to make their first, and possibly final, trip to Tokyo in order to see their children and view the spectacle of the city.
Tokyo Story contains all of the elements that make Ozu’s films popular with film students and cinephiles today. His calm, observant camera, his real-life, non-embellished characters, his attention to detail and the emotional emphasis on certain objects, his perfectly timed music, among other things, contribute ultimately to the warmth and effectiveness of Tokyo Story. Ozu’s passion for filmmaking knew no bounds.
Tokyo Story will not appeal to everybody, especially today. The typical moviegoer will either dismiss the film because it is “old” or “black and white,” or find it boring. To the cautious and attentive viewers who allow themselves to connect with the characters and feel the story, Tokyo Story is a rewarding experience. Tokyo Story, along with Ozu’s other films, is a good example of film as an art. Aimed at telling a story and depicting true life on camera, it is much less of the “entertainment” experience that people have come to expect from the movies today. There are no explosions, violence, chase scenes, or over- the-top characters here. This is Ozu. Tokyo Story is one of the greatest films ever made.
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