Subarashiki Nichiyobi (One Wonderful Sunday) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
Two young lovers go wandering around town on one wonderful Sunday, but the movie is more serious as it sounds as they think about their futures. I really enjoyed this movie.
Super Reviewer
May 25, 2008
a charming and severely underrated kurosawa film. a delightful romance, an easy atmosphere, and the symphony scene at the end was majestic. a bit slow mooving at points, but only because the film seeks to be genuine, and in my mind kurosawa accomplishes his purposes.
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2011
It went on too long and featured characters who I could not care about whatsoever despite the film's attempts to get me to feel sorry for them. The usage and depiction of post-war Japan is interesting, not interesting enough that it makes me want to like or rewatch this campy, melodramatic film. The ending is one that made me raise my eyebrow and then sigh in relief because I can go onto watching Kurosawa's next film--this first with Mifune--Drunken Angel.
December 22, 2011
Very "Capraesque." I'd say darker than Capra, but then I think of It's a Wonderful Life. Very interesting depiction of postwar Japan/Tokyo. Really get drawn into the characters' lives. The attempt at breaking the 4th wall near the end is awkward and is surprising and seems misplaced, but otherwise a solid depiction of a couple.
½ February 13, 2012
Framed in a bombed out city in Japan, the story follows the daily survival of two young lovers. An ex soldier and the woman he left behind try to figure out how they can when they can continue thier lives as thier very natures seem at "war" with the new brutal economic realities, but still they try to cling to thier youthful dreams and each other. At one point they speak directly to the audience (1947 Japan) in a passionate plea for everyone to help them (other real life couples) rebuild thier lives together as a country. Probably one of Kurosawa's finest use of camera placement and cutting in one of his modern dramas.
½ July 18, 2010
A sweet, sad, ultimately hopeful look at trying to get by in post-war Japan from Akira Kurosawa. I was completely charmed.
April 10, 2008
This was my favorite movie of the set. This one was the one that made me sad that I couldn't review right after I watched it. But thank you, fine folks at Flixster (alliteration!) for adding this movie.

This is a wonderful romance story. Yeah, my heart has grown soft since I started working at Thomas Video. I like when love overcomes economic strain to become more beautiful than anything those Disney princesses can offer me. These are real people dealing with real problems. As unique as Kurosawa always makes his films, he always has this very strong grasp on the human condition, which is probably why I love his film so much.

This is a heart-wrenching film. The story is very straightforward. As the title suggests, the entire movie takes place over the course of this one Sunday. While some parts go absolutely marvelously, there wouldn't be much of a story if the relationship wasn't placed in danger of disaster. But these disasters are things that really affect couples. You hate and love the man at the same time for being so weak and human. You root for him to get out of himself and see what he has around him.

The best part of this film is the end. Yes, it could be considered a little camp, but I would have to disagree with that statement. It is the perfect end to this film. I'm not going to spill too much about the end, but there is this surge of an almost supernatural life to the way this movie ends. Almost like Peter Pan asking the children to clap their hands. I interacted in both cases. I'm not ashamed. I begged for this movie to end happily for these characters because they really deserved it.

Kurosawa really warmed my heart with this movie. I'm not saying it is his best film. Not by a long shot. But it is an absolutely beautiful movie and it is the best of the Post-war set.
June 15, 2015
The story may not be as impressive as the efforts put into directing this film, but I was lovely nonetheless. I enjoyed everything about this romantic drama visually and emotionally. The feelings I had during scenes were strong and the characters were interesting and pitiful. The story, to me, is still sweet and ends with an uplifting sense of hope and perseverance. I really enjoyed watching this film and witnessing Kurasawa's maturing abilities. He uses weather and music to evoke strong emotions, mirroring that of the characters'. I also enjoyed his close ups on the couple's feet. There is a bit of emphasis on the broken shoes of the female lead toward the beginning. Seeing their shoes close up in the rain puddles reminds you how uncomfortable the characters must be, yet they continue on, determined to find happiness together. It felt romantic to see their feet treading the cold wet streets together. All in all, this was a great Kurosawa film.
March 4, 2015
Its the ones who don't know who are the unfortunate one's.
On my cinematic journey through Akira Kurosawa's films this is his best film so far, its massage for the people most effected by World War 2 has long since passed, but it can still be applied to us in this day and age, as well as pushing the limit on sexualism and relationship in films post-war. A sweet dream like film (all these thing I am stating now are fairly well tolled in the film so I will be stating the obvious) following a young couple who are broke as a joke on a average Sunday that turns out to be there greatest moment in there live's as the world throws everything at there fragile relationship, a depressed war veteran is being challenged with looking after his girlfriend, but some how there youthful properties in there personalities are sheltered through and give them a saving grace with a helping hand by a round applause they make it through.

On there adventure to the Zoo they look at each animal and give a description how they feel and what they seem like, in this scene they are stating the different types of people around them including themselves using the animals, in the scene they describe a weird looking bird and reference it with a similarly weird-slightly nuts guy they met earlier, Bear cubs, innocent and cute- this is the young girl because of her key-ring of a tiny bear she holds in her handbag through out the film and of course the guy a less kinder and more concrete person formed by war is an almost complete opposite from his lady-friend who is more like a child-youthful- he is compared to a a depressed looking Dear. I have to say this film chipped out a tiny piece of titanium in my man-armor my making tear-up not because it was emotionally sad (although it is quite sad), what made me teary eyed was the gleeful happiness of the two and there funny encounters with all the other zoo-like people. Funny and faith restoring film, Kurosawa has earned some director points.
Just the kindest film without being to corny or sappy, so evenly weighed out with it's camera work making it flow by quickly as-well as suspending it in the mind with it gorgeous dreamy scenes that look like fine paintings, each scene perfectly captured by the black and white film.
December 26, 2013
Bittersweet, but heartwarming.
January 25, 2013
ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY - Chieko Nakakita's Masako is irrepressible... Isao Numasaki is just great as Yuzo... a moving story of survival, and (true) love... the film captured me from the very beginning... this one will make you laugh and give a hard tug at your heartstrings... the last 5 minutes is so touching and tender it almost hurts... and, I'm sure that Yuzo and Masako met again that next Sunday... and again the Sunday after that... and that she would always hear his 'symphony'... and eventually, they did get that little place of theirs... and somewhere out in the celluloid universe there is a happy couple sitting on their porch overlooking their garden... and they're having many Wonderful Sunday's. This is Kurosawa's BEST... --Mike
December 11, 2012
Some Deaths Are of the Spirit

The ending of this movie, I must confess, is a bit "I do believe in fairies!" My understanding is that neither American nor Japanese audiences were terribly fond of it, but the French responded better. I'm not generally a huge fan of breaking the fourth wall in movies unless it's broken all along--Rob's monologue with the camera throughout [i]High Fidelity[/i], for example, or the narration in films noir. However, to have the characters turn to the camera in a single scene and demand that we respond to them in some way takes me out of the story. It kind of makes me feel creepy, to be honest. I'm well aware that the basic premise of fiction is a kind of voyeurism; we are watching people's lives, often in places where they wouldn't want us to. I get that. However, I can pretend that isn't true if they ignore us, and if they don't, they're inviting us in. But to have them notice us in a single scene while ignoring us before? Awkward.

It is post-war Tokyo. Yuzo (Isao Numasaki) is a veteran; the years since the war ended have not been kind to him. Even before the war, his girlfriend was Masako (Chieko Nakakita). They now meet on Sundays, the only day they can, and spend the day together. On this particular Sunday, all they have to spend is thirty-five yen. I don't know what the conversion rate was, but I do know that it wasn't a lot of money. Over the last two years, however, they have learned pretty much everything that can be done in Tokyo for not much money. Masako is still cheerful and full of hope and dreams. She reminds Yuzo of their plan to build the Hyacinth Cafe, a restaurant with good coffee and pastries for reasonable prices. He tells Masako not to dream, that there is no place in their world for dreams. They play ball with some boys, go to the zoo, and hope to see a concert of the music that they heard on their first date. They also quarrel and make up.

This wasn't Kurosawa's first film; he actually got his start during the war. However, this is early work of his, well before the great costume epics for which he is generally known in the US. I honestly kind of prefer the modern films, the films where he is exploring what it means to live in Tokyo in the years and eventually decades after the war. There are signs of the American occupation, but not many, and there are no American characters in the movie. They aren't important here. What matters is what the war has done to this young couple. Oh, I'm sure part of the issue is that I don't really know Japanese history, and this is an era where I get all the historical references. However, these are people trying to find their place in a changed world, and that's interesting no matter what world it is. When Yuzo and Masako first met and shared their dreams, they did so in a world where Japan was a conqueror, not conquered. Everything has changed, and Kurosawa knows that as well as his characters.

It's also worth noting that Tokyo, in this movie, is still in the process of rebuilding. When Yuzo and Masako are sharing a daydream about their cafe, they do so among ruins. There is a zoo again, and concerts, and streetcars, but there is also rubble. The most successful people we see are either black marketeers or Westernized in some way. Yuzo and Masako are trying to get by in a more traditional way, and it isn't working out for them. It is almost as though people like them are the ruined bits of the city, the bits which haven't come back yet. Tokyo is still rebuilding, and until it does, there is no place for people of honour and dignity. There is still much to be rebuilt, and it is only when everything achieves a new normal that people like Yuzo and Masako will thrive over ticket scalpers and gangsters. Now, yes, that will eventually mean Westernizing in ways that haven't always been very good for Japanese culture. But it's better than living sixteen to a house.

At the same time in the United States, veterans were going to college and starting businesses. This is the advantage of winning, or one of them--you can provide for your veterans. Pride in service is all very well, but the US was giving $20 a week for a year to its veterans, and the Japanese simply couldn't do that. By the sound of it, the Hyacinth Cafe wasn't a bad idea; certainly I quite like Masako's colour sense. However, I'm not even sure that the Japanese military received all its pay from the time of the war. I rather suspect inflation had caught up with them, too, and what pay they got wasn't worth much. I've been reading quite a lot lately about the US home front during World War II, and much of it discusses war marriages and so forth, and what people did afterward. The people in the US ended the war with great hope, in part because they'd won and in part because the country was hardly damaged at all. There was a place for our Yuzos and Masakos, and we were the luckier for it.
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2011
It went on too long and featured characters who I could not care about whatsoever despite the film's attempts to get me to feel sorry for them. The usage and depiction of post-war Japan is interesting, not interesting enough that it makes me want to like or rewatch this campy, melodramatic film. The ending is one that made me raise my eyebrow and then sigh in relief because I can go onto watching Kurosawa's next film--this first with Mifune--Drunken Angel.
November 13, 2010
This is a brilliant film. Not only does it give a glimpse of Japanese civilian life in the aftermath of WWII, it also gives a wonderfully bittersweet day in the life of a somewhat mismatched pair. Really enjoyed this one.
½ April 8, 2010
Post-war Tokyo is the setting for Akira Kurosawa's touching romantic drama ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY - offering a glimpse of a city struggling to regain a semblance of normalcy in the wake of a devastating war via the experiences of a young betrothed couple - Yuzo (Isao Numasaki) and Masako (Chieko Nakakita - she also appeared in Kurosawa's DRUNKEN ANGEL). They often spend Sunday together - the only time of the week that they can see each other. Complicating the matter is the fact they have but 35 yen to spend (after they have pooled their money together.)

Both Yuzo and Masako are struggling to make ends meet as office workers earning meager pay. Yuzo is a former soldier sharing a tiny apartment with a roommate. Masako still lives with her large family in a "tiny house". He is the more pragmatic of the two but is becoming more and more morose about his financial situation (which doesn't appear likely to improve any time soon.) He smokes cigarette butts he finds on the sidewalk because he cannot afford to buy his own. She, on the other hand, is the more cheerful and optimistic of the two - able to foresee a much brighter and happier future. Masako can even put a positive spin on it when Yuzo notices the holes on the soles of her shoes - "the better they are to drain when they get wet."

Early in the film, Masako tries to persuade Yuzo to look at a model home. He is reluctant to enter. For Yuzo, the selling price of the home (100,000 yen) is a seemingly unobtainable figure. Meanwhile, Masako imagines the types of furniture she will place in each room. Yuzo scolds her for being an unrealistic dreamer, "We have to face reality to survive in a world like this." But Masako counters, "This is the kind of world where you need dreams the most..."

They next inquire about a small apartment that is up for rent. In one of the films more humorous moments - the apartment manager all but discourages the couple from renting. As the couple try to figure out if they can afford to live there - they are distracted by some kids playing baseball, prompting Yuzo to join in on the fun.

This baseball scene is something one can very easily connect with if you are a fan of baseball. The japanese kids yell the exact same "phrases" as their american counterparts. What really surprised me was Kurosawa's choice of music here - after a wayward baseball wrecks the sign hung near a store. All the kids scatter, of course...but the music is from Bizet's "Carmen" - the very same music used by director Michael Ritchie in his 1976 BAD NEWS BEARS - one of my all time favorite baseball flicks!!!

Very memorable too is the scene where amidst the rubble and ruin, Yuzo and Masako pretend to own a cafe. There is also a playground scene - with swings - that foreshadow Kurosawa's marvelous film IKURU.

These are some of the film's happier moments...but the mood will swing the other way too as Yuzo's mood becomes grimmer as the day progresses - as the reality of Tokyo's economic straits becomes more evident to the viewer. They encounter a hungry street waif. They have a run in with some street toughs scalping concert tickets . Yuzo's plan to visit a wartime buddy who now owns a nightclub goes terribly astray when the maitre'd mistakes Yuzo for a...(sorry, this will probably be a spoiler)!!!

When the couple finally retreats to Yuzo's apartment is when Kurosawa is at his cinematic best here with long stetches without dialogue. It becomes heartbreaking to watch as when Masako - the seemingly eternal optimist - surrenders to tears.

This is considered one of Kurosawa's lesser film - but I disagree. It's billed as a neo-realist film and does remind one of the style of THE BICYCLE THIEVES or UMBERTO D - but this film predates them both. One of the characters will break the "fourth wall" and address the audience directly - which may or may not work for you - but I understand Kurosawa's intent.

I think this is one fabulous film with much food for thought!!!
February 16, 2008
kurosawa took a lot of risks here... and not all of them work. ultimately, it's an okay film with some really interesting artistic elements. the closing sequence has some really dramatic camera movements and lighting that completely make up for the failed experiment heading into the scene. kurosawa does a good job directing his actors here, in deep despair and unbridled hope, but the extremes are so diverse it almost makes the film seem a bit bipolar. an interesting film for fans, but definitely not required viewing.
½ January 11, 2007
2/25 - Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (Smith, 2001, Television): 6

2/26 - One Wonderful Sunday (Kurosawa, 1947, Rental): 7.5

2/27 - Rambo: First Blood (Kotcheff, 1982, Rental): 5.5

2/28 - Control (Corbijn, 2008, Download): 8.5

2/28 - There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007, Download): 9
September 29, 2006
Charming, universal, little love story that easily could have been made by Capra and set in the Depression-era U.S. It's a little overly simplistic, resulting in a low score; but the acting is very good and there's some nice cinematography. On the slow side, but worth a watch.
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