Early Summer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Early Summer Reviews

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November 28, 2017
The contrast between the traditional and the modern Japanese woman is the main theme of this wonderful, "everyday life" film.
August 22, 2017
While perhaps not as profound as some of his other films, Ozu's study of several family relationships in post-war Japan is often magical and moving.
September 20, 2016
True masterpieces are those which don't let audiences check their watches but let them wish to share times with the characters forever, and this is definitely one of them.
½ December 27, 2014
Ayako and I had a discussion about what the Japanese title "Bakushu" means - she thought it should signify "beer" and some homework reveals that the correct translation is probably "The Barley-Harvest Season" rather than "Early Summer". I'm not quite sure what is being harvested - possibly Noriko (played by Ozu regular Setsuko Hara) who is being urged to marry because at 28 she is at risk of becoming an old maid. However, Noriko is a modern post-war Japanese woman who wants to make up her own mind. However, her boss and her family conspire to match her with a rich (though 12 years older) businessman - who we never meet. Indeed, Ozu very playfully includes numerous ellipses in the plot, never quite allowing us enough information to expect Noriko's ultimate decision. Although it comes as a surprise, this decision may actually have had a basis in experiences not shown in the film - that is, Noriko does spend offscreen time with her eventual husband, perhaps a considerable amount of time (and late in the film, some potentially pivotal time searching for her missing nephews with him). As usual, Ozu also disorients the viewer with his camerawork, often cutting in ways that are distinctly different from the invisible Hollywood style that we know and sometimes from one place to another without warning. His usual counterpoints are here: traditional Japan vs. modern Japan, male vs. female, old vs. young, city vs. countryside - but they are used subtly to tell a story about the complexity of families (across three generations) and their sad but inevitable dissolution.
½ January 10, 2014
While its one of Ozu's more lighthearted works, it is still a powerful take on the subject of marriage, the family, and the post-war western influence on Japan.
September 25, 2013
I've said it before, & I'll say again; nobody creates more beautiful pictures than Ozu. They're like living poems. They might be the best films about family ever made.

I'm not sure where I rank it in Ozu's Noriko trilogy; but for it to even compare to the other two is an accomplishment. Setsuko Hara may be my favorite actress of all time. The ending is especially powerfully moving.
The only issue is the same one I had with 'Late Spring' -- the dearth of scenes of Noriko with her love interest. I'd have preferred more.

Flixster reviewers are awful. Stupid assumptions based on looking at everything through a narrow, myopic PC lens. Beat it.
½ June 4, 2013
Tuesday, June 4, 2013

(1951) Early Summer
(In Japanese with English subtitles)
DRAMA

Co-written and directed by Yasujirô Ozu which has showcased something I don't see too often in drama movies, and that is to allow the daughter to have a choice who she wants to marry despite the family being slightly objectionable. The poster is an introduction to the family in question which has single daughter living with her grandparents in the same house as her brother and his wife with two sons. Currently, they're many films which always have a single mother looking for another companionship or spouse such as "Jerry McGuire", "Alice Doesn't Live here Anymore", and "Murphy's Romance" to name a few... here is one movie in which the roles are reversed and is uncustomary to what anyone is used to seeing, and it's handled quite well since it looked like another one of Ozu's popular arrange marriage movies again. I was quite relieved to see that it wasn't.

3.5 out of 4 stars
May 29, 2013
This movie is an interesting historic relic of a place and time, Japan in 1950. The war is over. The country has mostly gotten back to normal. Normal though is relative; it's the midpoint of the 20th century and life is changing.

The story is centered around an extended family and their acquaintances, especially the 28 year old unmarried daughter. It features the small dramas of normal lives.

The only question I have is why the grandparents moved to what appeared to be Japan's equivalent of Kansas. There's nothing wrong with Kansas, but if you live comfortably in a big house with your extended family in Tokyo, what attraction is there to live out the rest of your years in the middle of nowhere?

On a related note, I had been pondering green screen in movie making shortly before watching this movie. Well actually I started watching the movie and then got thinking about green screen by the time I came back to watch the rest of it. The beach scene at the end is green screen. I only mention this because I find it interesting how the tricks and techniques of story telling through movie making were already international by then. I wish I had been watching with green screen in mind from the beginning of the movie.
May 13, 2013
If you've seen one Ozu film, you probably have the drift of his austere, quiet style, and you don't need my recommendation. If you haven't, take a chance.
February 11, 2013
I really like Late Spring so I am surprised that I wasn't anywhere near engaged by the middle part of the 'Noriko' trilogy. Perhaps Ozu is the kind of director that one has to be in the 'mood' for, this is at times achingly slow and while the same could be said for Late Spring I didn't feel the same connection to the story this time around. Next stop Tokyo Story and hopefully a strong finale.
January 18, 2013
Another masterwork from legendary director Ozu about postwar life in Kamakura and its people.
October 31, 2012
Japanese cinema's master makes Japanese cinema's masterpieces, and Early Summer is one of them.
½ September 29, 2012
Well acted, family drama that Ozu excels at. The movie kind of creeps up on you and you're not aware if how invested you've become in the characters until you're hanging on every conversation.
September 27, 2012
The least of Ozu's trilogy starring Setsuko Hara-partly because its plot is so similar to "Late Spring"-but it's still arresting in its dramatic moments, and the heroine's speech about her choice of spouse is thought-provoking.
½ September 21, 2012
Next to Tokyo Story this is my favourite Ozu film - an understated look at the changes going on around him.
½ August 30, 2012
I might change the name of Ozu Fest 2012 to "Variations on a Theme," but this latest masterpiece among many is superlative. The themes of female independence against the burgeoning backdrop of modernizing Japan are once again done with devastating brilliance. Not to be overlooked: my burgeoning crush on Setsuko Hara.
April 12, 2012
Another understated masterpiece from one the greatest directors of all time.
½ November 25, 2011
The simplest of film directors.
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