Sayonara Reviews

Page 1 of 7
ScoopOnline
Super Reviewer
December 7, 2009
I saw Sayonara a long time ago after a friend recommended it to me. It is a great love story. It has some funny moments, some sad moments, some senti moments, and some very weird moments. Over all fine Movie you d want to watch again.
Super Reviewer
May 10, 2006
This is another one of those watershed films that is so far ahead of its time in dealing with issues of race, love, and marriage. Definitely one of Brando's most moving endeavors, overshadowed only by the even more masterful performances of Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki . This one is heartbreaking every time.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2014
"My woman from Tokyo, she makes me see!" Well, actually, this man's woman is from Kobe, but, hey, the military ostensibly can't even tell the difference between the Koreans and the Japs in this film, because even though this film is set during the Korean Conflict, they're trying to get said woman from Kobe out. You can see the irony in the fact that this '50s Southern man is opposing prejudice, but then again, Marlon Brando apparently improvised the accent. Nevertheless, Japan was, like, ten years ago, folks in this movie, and you need to get over it, because there are plenty of other Asian nations to feud with, and at the rate this film is going, it ought to cover them all by the time the credits roll. There's been, like, a million properties titled "The Long Goodbye", so they could have called this, I don't know, "The Long Sayonara", and let people know what they're in for. That would be such a cliché, but hey, it's no more of a cliché than nicknaming this Air Force act flier "Ace", or an Asian fetish that I don't entirely get. Brando was bi and ended up having 16 kids, so I'm sure there are a lot of things that he was into that wouldn't be interested in, unless, of course, they made a movie out of it, because this film is quite interesting, although the Ace character's name and particular taste in women are not the only things in this film which are a little familiar.

A military drama, a cultural celebration, and a star-crossed romance, this film is refreshing in how it entangles its various themes into a singular vision, but it doesn't do much of anything new with the respective traits, being rather predictable from various angles, with tropes that include histrionics. As a matter of fact, considering how long the film is, it's only a matter of time before it hits histrionics, no matter how mild, but otherwise, a sense of melodrama derives almost entirely from the sentimentality in Joshua Logan's direction, which is mostly resonant in its dramatic atmosphere, until reaching certain tonal excesses that by no means marks the end of the excess in this film. Coming very close to a runtime of two-and-a-half hours, the film is much too blasted long, with draggy and repetitious dialogue pieces, and too much exposition on individual layers in this branched and segmented narrative, leading to lapses in a sense of progression. As if it's not awkward enough that excessive structuring sees plotlines regarding the leads' friend's interracial marriage, an exploration of Japanese culture, and the lead's personal romantic conflicts outstaying their welcome enough for the other segments to lose focus before too long, the central plotline is often so aimless in its excess and meanderings that is takes much too long to get to a predictable point, focusing on the lead losing his original love, then winning over his true love, and then having his love challenged by his peers. Lloyd "Ace" Gruver's love interests receive an unbalanced amount of attention, and Gruver's other affairs, for that matter, are juggled messily, thus, the film is uneven and aimless to the point of being rather unfocused, and that's all fine and good, because the film is ultimately very compelling from most every angle, but, with that said, the excessive length and flimsy structure just go to show you how unspectacular this story is. This is no epic, no matter what the runtime may say, as it's a rather straightforward drama that is driven by dialogue and no extreme dangers, and although the story remains compelling in its concept and in its telling, the predictability, sentimentality, unevenness and aimlessness stress natural shortcomings and shake up momentum, almost to the point of shaking off a rewarding status. The final product tries one's patience, but so long as that patience stands firm, it is sure to be paid off, for although the film is unspectacular with its plot and disjointed with its storytelling, it holds your attention plenty, partly from an aesthetic angle.

For 1957, the film is remarkably good-looking, with Ellsworth Fredericks delivering on cinematography that is relatively crisp in definition, and lush in coloration, while carrying a certain scope that does further justice to an expansive observation of the environments and cultures of Japan, enhanced by Ted Haworth's Oscar-winning art direction. As a celebration of Japanese culture, this film hits the nail on the head in its lavishly distinguishing its environments and the other attractive traits of its setting, so if nothing else holds your attention throughout this overlong affair, it is the striking visual style and haunting visuals, and yet, this story explores much more than a lovely culture. This story may not be especially original, or have the scope or great consequentiality that are insinuated in a runtime of almost two-and-a-half hours, but to say that it is not especially compelling is inaccurate, for there is still plenty of depth to this narrative, of a human nature that is backed by themes regarding prejudice in respectable outfits, and is brought to life by a strong script. Paul Osborn's script is excessive, make no mistake, with aimlessness and unevenness that shake a sense of focus and progression at times, and yet, the point is that it takes its time to flesh out its characters and layers, and along the way, it holds your attention through sharp dialogue and a fair, clever sense of humor, while taking on potentially melodramatic genuineness with a surprising deal of genuineness, more often than not, at least. Again, it's Joshua Logan's sentimental direction which most challenges a sense of dramatic genuineness, and even then, on top of the being charming, the sentimentality is generally controlled enough to get across the weight of this subject matter with resonance, and a sense of importance that could have been lost amidst all of the dragging, which Logan makes more comfortable through tight pacing that keeps up an adequate degree of entertainment value. Really, color, charm and resonance are mostly encompassed in the cast, which is comprised of effective talents ranging from the subtly layered Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki, to the beautiful and humanized Patricia Owens and Miiko Taka, none of whom are quite up to par with leading man Marlon Brando, who delivers on explosive charisma and impeccable line delivery which get you invested into the grounded, likable nature of the flawed Lloyd "Ace" Gruver character, until incorporating a dramatic subtlety and grace that captures the lead's depths better than the storytellers. You can feel Gruver's change of heart when he finds true love, and you can feel his pain when that love and the love of his friends go opposed by figures he holds in high regard, and considering that, with all of its inconsistences, the film hardly every turns its attention away from Gruver, Brando carries this non-epic, but not quite alone, for although there's a lot to challenge one's patience, there is enough to maintain one's investment and make this minimalist, but piercing drama rewarding.

In the end, there is some familiarity and sentimentality to shake the dramatic momentum of this film, while other forms of momentum go shaken up something fierce by an excessive and repetitious structure that begets a sense of unevenness and aimlessness behind a story of very limited scale, thus, nearly two-and-a-half hours don't entirely pay off, but through lavish cinematography, locations and art direction, the cleverly written and genuinely directed telling of a thematically and dramatically important story, and a solid cast from which Marlon Brando stands out, there is enough payoff to make Joshua Logan's "Sayonara" a rewarding military and star-crossed lovers drama.

3/5 - Good
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2014
Brando takes a break from serious films to earn a bit of cash and some recognition in Sayonara. It lacks freshness today and likely can only be viewed as something that must be seen if you need to see the entire Brando cannon.
Super Reviewer
½ July 4, 2006
The sociopolitical content of this movie becomes its singular driving force at times, and its approach to that material is underwhelming. Joshua Logan's direction is bland but inoffensive, and the story itself has some compelling elements. Marlon Brando is the true saving grace here... he was an actor who never failed to excite.
iLeo
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2007
Beautiful!
March 8, 2008
Brandon is at the top of his game is the love story dealing was racism in the military are Red Buttons, Miko Taka and Miyoshi. James Garner also has a great supporting role.
½ June 14, 2009
I love this film. The acting is awesome by everyone, the story is timeless. Very well directed and especially well produced. Great cinematography, costumes, sets, editing, it has it all. Superb movie making.
September 18, 2008
An amazing film! Deep, sad, poignant, rich, and important. Marlon Brando speaks in a wierd southern accent, and gives a terrible preformance in the film as a fighter pilot stationed in Japan. But the two best preformances in the film are from Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki. They are fantastic together. They play a simple minded married couple who just plain love each other, but they are being separated by race and prejudice people. the Air Force dosen't want them together, and she can't come with him back to America. The movie is a very sad and powerful, but the ending is very happy and cheerful. I strongly reccomend this film!
½ January 21, 2008
Aside from Brando's fake southern accent this film won me over with the tear-jerking ending. A truly fine piece of work.
½ July 3, 2007
A visually rich film dealing with racism and the indifferent treatment of Japanese foreigners in times of war. Brando, Buttons, and Umeki deliver such natural performances. Perhaps little too sweet at times....
March 19, 2007
My favorite Brando movie. He is the epitome of cool in uniform with a southern drawl. Makes me want to enlist. Critics pick Streetcar or On the Waterfront as his best, but my money's on this one.
Super Reviewer
March 4, 2007
Of all the romances I've seen filmed this is easily one of my favorites. Great performances across the board from Buttons, Garner, Brando, Umeki, Montalban, etc.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2014
"My woman from Tokyo, she makes me see!" Well, actually, this man's woman is from Kobe, but, hey, the military ostensibly can't even tell the difference between the Koreans and the Japs in this film, because even though this film is set during the Korean Conflict, they're trying to get said woman from Kobe out. You can see the irony in the fact that this '50s Southern man is opposing prejudice, but then again, Marlon Brando apparently improvised the accent. Nevertheless, Japan was, like, ten years ago, folks in this movie, and you need to get over it, because there are plenty of other Asian nations to feud with, and at the rate this film is going, it ought to cover them all by the time the credits roll. There's been, like, a million properties titled "The Long Goodbye", so they could have called this, I don't know, "The Long Sayonara", and let people know what they're in for. That would be such a cliché, but hey, it's no more of a cliché than nicknaming this Air Force act flier "Ace", or an Asian fetish that I don't entirely get. Brando was bi and ended up having 16 kids, so I'm sure there are a lot of things that he was into that wouldn't be interested in, unless, of course, they made a movie out of it, because this film is quite interesting, although the Ace character's name and particular taste in women are not the only things in this film which are a little familiar.

A military drama, a cultural celebration, and a star-crossed romance, this film is refreshing in how it entangles its various themes into a singular vision, but it doesn't do much of anything new with the respective traits, being rather predictable from various angles, with tropes that include histrionics. As a matter of fact, considering how long the film is, it's only a matter of time before it hits histrionics, no matter how mild, but otherwise, a sense of melodrama derives almost entirely from the sentimentality in Joshua Logan's direction, which is mostly resonant in its dramatic atmosphere, until reaching certain tonal excesses that by no means marks the end of the excess in this film. Coming very close to a runtime of two-and-a-half hours, the film is much too blasted long, with draggy and repetitious dialogue pieces, and too much exposition on individual layers in this branched and segmented narrative, leading to lapses in a sense of progression. As if it's not awkward enough that excessive structuring sees plotlines regarding the leads' friend's interracial marriage, an exploration of Japanese culture, and the lead's personal romantic conflicts outstaying their welcome enough for the other segments to lose focus before too long, the central plotline is often so aimless in its excess and meanderings that is takes much too long to get to a predictable point, focusing on the lead losing his original love, then winning over his true love, and then having his love challenged by his peers. Lloyd "Ace" Gruver's love interests receive an unbalanced amount of attention, and Gruver's other affairs, for that matter, are juggled messily, thus, the film is uneven and aimless to the point of being rather unfocused, and that's all fine and good, because the film is ultimately very compelling from most every angle, but, with that said, the excessive length and flimsy structure just go to show you how unspectacular this story is. This is no epic, no matter what the runtime may say, as it's a rather straightforward drama that is driven by dialogue and no extreme dangers, and although the story remains compelling in its concept and in its telling, the predictability, sentimentality, unevenness and aimlessness stress natural shortcomings and shake up momentum, almost to the point of shaking off a rewarding status. The final product tries one's patience, but so long as that patience stands firm, it is sure to be paid off, for although the film is unspectacular with its plot and disjointed with its storytelling, it holds your attention plenty, partly from an aesthetic angle.

For 1957, the film is remarkably good-looking, with Ellsworth Fredericks delivering on cinematography that is relatively crisp in definition, and lush in coloration, while carrying a certain scope that does further justice to an expansive observation of the environments and cultures of Japan, enhanced by Ted Haworth's Oscar-winning art direction. As a celebration of Japanese culture, this film hits the nail on the head in its lavishly distinguishing its environments and the other attractive traits of its setting, so if nothing else holds your attention throughout this overlong affair, it is the striking visual style and haunting visuals, and yet, this story explores much more than a lovely culture. This story may not be especially original, or have the scope or great consequentiality that are insinuated in a runtime of almost two-and-a-half hours, but to say that it is not especially compelling is inaccurate, for there is still plenty of depth to this narrative, of a human nature that is backed by themes regarding prejudice in respectable outfits, and is brought to life by a strong script. Paul Osborn's script is excessive, make no mistake, with aimlessness and unevenness that shake a sense of focus and progression at times, and yet, the point is that it takes its time to flesh out its characters and layers, and along the way, it holds your attention through sharp dialogue and a fair, clever sense of humor, while taking on potentially melodramatic genuineness with a surprising deal of genuineness, more often than not, at least. Again, it's Joshua Logan's sentimental direction which most challenges a sense of dramatic genuineness, and even then, on top of the being charming, the sentimentality is generally controlled enough to get across the weight of this subject matter with resonance, and a sense of importance that could have been lost amidst all of the dragging, which Logan makes more comfortable through tight pacing that keeps up an adequate degree of entertainment value. Really, color, charm and resonance are mostly encompassed in the cast, which is comprised of effective talents ranging from the subtly layered Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki, to the beautiful and humanized Patricia Owens and Miiko Taka, none of whom are quite up to par with leading man Marlon Brando, who delivers on explosive charisma and impeccable line delivery which get you invested into the grounded, likable nature of the flawed Lloyd "Ace" Gruver character, until incorporating a dramatic subtlety and grace that captures the lead's depths better than the storytellers. You can feel Gruver's change of heart when he finds true love, and you can feel his pain when that love and the love of his friends go opposed by figures he holds in high regard, and considering that, with all of its inconsistences, the film hardly every turns its attention away from Gruver, Brando carries this non-epic, but not quite alone, for although there's a lot to challenge one's patience, there is enough to maintain one's investment and make this minimalist, but piercing drama rewarding.

In the end, there is some familiarity and sentimentality to shake the dramatic momentum of this film, while other forms of momentum go shaken up something fierce by an excessive and repetitious structure that begets a sense of unevenness and aimlessness behind a story of very limited scale, thus, nearly two-and-a-half hours don't entirely pay off, but through lavish cinematography, locations and art direction, the cleverly written and genuinely directed telling of a thematically and dramatically important story, and a solid cast from which Marlon Brando stands out, there is enough payoff to make Joshua Logan's "Sayonara" a rewarding military and star-crossed lovers drama.

3/5 - Good
½ March 6, 2012
Beautiful, if not weighed down by a comically annoying performance by Marlon Brando
½ November 10, 2013
Marlon Brando plays a soldier named Ace, who has originated from the southern USA that has been reassigned to working in Japan. One of his colleagues Kelly (Red Buttons) falls in love and weds a Japanese woman (Miyoshi Umeki), although this not to the liking of his superiors. Additionally, Ace's woman (Patricia Owens) from America comes and joins him, although he starts losing interest in her and begins to fall in love with another lady, a Japanese actress (Miiko Taka). Honestly speaking, when I saw that director Joshua Logan was the same director of the 1956 film "Picnic," I became concerned that this drama would be unspectacular, and sure enough it was. It has not aged well, it is not that interesting, and therefore, it does not work on today's standards. Brando's consistent southern accent is quite annoying and not effective, like previously in the 1951 hit "A Streetcar Named Desire." James Garner adds nothing to this movie. I was ready to say "Sayonara" after 25 minutes watching this overly long picture. What a big disappointment, considering it took home two supporting acting awards (Buttons and Umeki, the Kelly couple and they are not bad at all).
June 26, 2013
Powerful performances all round from Brando to Buttons and Umeki to Taka.
Essentially Romeo and Juliet Japanese Style. The film has some really heart-breaking scenes, and touches on a subject that many in the world still suffer today. Great film.
March 6, 2008
A powerful tale of the troubles that love must over come in order to survive.
July 21, 2012
Marlon Brando is one of my top-favorite actors. He fills movies with his brilliant performance, or even his presence stirs uniqueness around itsy-bitsy movies.

Brando plays Lloyd Gruver a flier in American Air-Force during Korean-War, he is stationed at Kobe (Japan). He falls in love with local Japanese entertainer (Myoshi Umeki). Film is based on the novel of same name by James A. Michener. Marlon Brando plays flier in American Air-Force during Korean-War. It also co-stars James Garner and Myoshi Umeki (she won Oscar for Best Supp: Actress). Film was nominated for nominated in 10 categories, including Best Picture; winning 4.
June 18, 2012
Without doubt one of Brando's most underrated films, Sayonara never feels boring despite its 147-minute running time and stands as a well-directed, thought-provoking drama featuring impressive performances from not just Brando but also from Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki whose Oscar-winning portrayals of the doomed couple help them stand out on their own, despite being in the same company as possibly the greatest actor of the classical Hollywood era.
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