Movie Review – Tokyo Story

Posted: December 8, 2013 in Movie Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tokyo Story is a simple film. It’s not that I’ve never watched this story before but why did it make me so emotional. At the end of the film it made me say the film was a complete one yet we only see a segment of a couple’s life. Their last few days. I’ve watched Floating weeds before, I don’t remember it much. The only scene I remember is a low angle shot where the actors do their makeup. Ebert has a brilliant review of that. While watching floating weeds all through the film I could find something was abnormal. Only after reading Ebert’s review I could find out that the camera angle was low as compared to other films.


Ebert loves Ozu, that’s quite understandable. As far as I could think I could imagine Ebert as an adorable old person. It’s the same with Ozu. I could imagine his as an old man only. And when he makes a film like Tokyo Story its perfect. Except for the one scene where the youngest of the lady says that one of her daughters is disrespectful there weren’t’ any scene where I could differ in the opinion of the individuals.

It’s common for the children to get away from parents after a certain age. The eldest of the son, Koichi portrays the coldness in a different way than that of eldest of daughter Shige. He is willing to take care of his parents but his work comes in the middle. Shige wants to take her parents out but always has appointments but she’s the first one to cry when her mother dies. She’s also the first one to ask her belongings which the youngest of the daughter, Kyoko considers rude but Shige sees this as a token of remembrance. Each have a varied amount of love and hate to their parents. With age their priorities have changes. It doesn’t mean they love their parents less it just means they have someone else to love too. It’s human. When they disrespect their parents they do it even without their awareness. They mask their heart with one black blanket.

The youngest son and daughter, Keizo and Kyoko respectively are more direct, rather than being discreet like their elder counterparts. One reason for that is they don’t have a family. Keizo directly hates the parents and the first one to feel guilty. After a dining table scene (a trademark scene of most of the great films, I should write an article about it someday) Koichi and Shigi decide to go home which initially doesn’t interest Keizo first but later cites some reason to leave the place.

Noriko, wife of late Shogi, their second son who possibly got killed in the car seems to be the most down to earth caring woman of all. She stays for quite a few days after the mother’s death. The rest of the children take it for granted that she’ll stay and she does that too with glee. She’s the one who gets genuinely happy when she comes to know about the elder couple’s arrival to Tokyo. She treats them like nobody and thus gets liked by the mother more than anyone else. From what we hear we know that her husband was never really an adorable person but she still misses him. If he had been good to her and lived with her then she could have been different. It’s all very difficult to conclude. Life is never easy and Ozu explains this in a very simple way.

Taking about the cinematic aspects. The trademark low angle shots were a treat to watch. It’s a great feeling when someone breaks a norm and still makes us feel home while watching the movie. Not only that, the number of cuts in the movie are far larger than those of films of those days. And those cuts are at different places. People keep walking and sit in different place. Ozu brings them all in a sequence.

It’s been a long time since I watched a Japanese film but this film gave me that satisfying feeling of having watched an epic movie. What a movie maker he’s, Ozu!!!

P.S: Wikipedia page of Tokyo Story has a neat family tree of Shukichi and Tomi which made me easy to write this review. Thanks.


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