Omohide poro poro (Only Yesterday) (1991)

Omohide poro poro (Only Yesterday)

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Movie Info

Legendary animators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata team up to create this nostalgic animated work aimed at adult women, based on a manga by Yuko Tone and Kei Okamoto. The film centers on Taeko, a 27-year-old office worker who is sick of her job and ready for a change. She suddenly recalls the year 1966, when she was young and full of hope. She ventures to rural Yamagata prefecture to visit her sister and her brother-in-law. There she helps with the family farm where they turn saffron flowers … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Animation, Romance, Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Isao Takahata
In Theaters:
Runtime:

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Critic Reviews for Omohide poro poro (Only Yesterday)

All Critics (6)

Clunky thematic exposition isn't enough to break an otherwise lovely film

Full Review… | February 20, 2014
Movie Mezzanine

Moves with barely a ripple along a woman's memories of her girlhood in 1966. Here, as love blossoms (blooming in one of cinema's most touching end-credit sequences), the environment's imbued with memories of families and workers.

Full Review… | May 6, 2013
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Only Yesterday is a nostalgia-tinged, gloriously-detailed animation for adults and older children that doesnt shy away from real and universal issues like love, regret and the pains of growing up.

Full Review… | November 15, 2011
Film4

One thing is for sure, there won't be a dry eye in the house...

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Cinema Crazed

The most singularly mature, adult-oriented of all Ghibli's theatrical features... a cinematic masterpiece of the first order.

Full Review… | May 14, 2010
Antagony & Ecstasy

How many other animated films are you likely to see that would spend screen time watching characters eat a pineapple?

Full Review… | May 23, 2005
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Audience Reviews for Omohide poro poro (Only Yesterday)

'Grave of the Fireflies' Isao Takahata's second Ghibli feature is very different from the usual magical world, talking animals, and playful spirits approach that is almost synonymous with the studio's name. Instead, Takahata tackles a rarely trekked genre in animation, a fully realistic (devoid of fantasy elements) slice-of-life drama specifically made for adults. On paper, the film's premise reads like the most cliché Hollywood rom-com that we have seen a million times before: a young women from Tokyo decides to take a break from city life and vacations to the rural countryside of Japan to visit family and help with their safflower harvest. She meets a guy, who is her brother-in-laws second cousin whom she has never met before, and you pretty much already have the whole thing mapped out at this point.

So what makes this film so much superior to those lesser Hollywood tales that came before this wonderful film? Because the simple and familiar plot serves as a backdrop to Taeko's (our female protagonist that keeps up Ghibli's reputation for strong and compelling woman characters) melancholic journey to find self-actualization while also facing overwhelming nostalgia for her younger years that gives way to many dreamily-animated flashbacks of her ten-year old self. It is a close-to-the-chest, honest, and bittersweet look at the nature of nostalgia and how our lives are greatly shaped by certain events in our past. The flashbacks are given a stream of consciousness presentation; displaying Taeko's relatable life from her first crush on a boy, finding out about menstruation, failing math tests, acting in a school play, to a hilariously disappointing incident involving a pineapple.

The characters are understated and fantastic., The standouts are obviously our main lead Taeko herself (both 27 and 10 years-old) and especially the slightly goofy but admirably confident Toshio. The drama is very subtle and the animation beautifully gives a dream-like quality to Taeko's flashbacks. The pleasant Eastern European music also adds a nice layer to peaceful Japanese countryside and further distinguishes this film from other entries in the Ghibli catalogue.

Once again this film is very much meant for adults, children will most likely be indifferent due to the film's deliberate pacing, lack of fantasy, and life-retrospective themes that will simply go over their ends. The movie is also one of the more "Japanese" Ghibli entries, making a couple references to Japanese pop culture from the 1960's but not nearly enough to make the film hard to understand. Also the film remains the only Ghibli film to not be released in the US, so subbed is the only way to watch it. According to Disney, having a film involving raccoons with giant testicles is perfectly acceptable (Pom Poko), yet a five minute scene involving ten-year old girls talking about periods is deemed unacceptable!?! Hopefully something will happen that will finally see this underrated masterpiece released in America.

On a final note, 'Only Yesterday' is an extremely touching and honest look at a young women's examination of her life and were it is headed next. The closing credit sequence is one of the few times I've shed a tear in any movie, and I don't cry easily.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

A cultured and sophisticated Japanese animation by Isao Takahata for adults, Only Yesterday passionately reminisces adolescence that gradually motivated a realization on life and love. A visually meaningful masterpiece from Studio Ghibli, Only Yesterday, as the main character, embraces and shares self-actualization. Perpetual beauty.

Jan Marc Macababayao
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

½

One thing I liked a lot about this movie is it's not similar with other movies of Studio Ghibli. Glad to see a different story.
Now this is one of those movies that you want it to last longer than the usual time. Yes, I enjoyed this animation pretty much. Especially the part of childhood memories. There were some funny scenes in it. The adult part was kinda boring to me. One weird thing that I couldn't ignore was Taeco's smile (when she is adult). She looks a lot older than 27 (like 40+). Funny how memories can chase you everywhere you go.

3niR
Dead Angel

Super Reviewer

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