Early Summer Reviews

  • Antonius B Super Reviewer
    May 12, 2018

    There is a great harmony in everything about this film, which has a Japanese family of three generations wondering if it's time for the 28-year-old daughter (Setsuko Hara) to get married, and proposing an opportune match. Director Yasujiro Ozu uses many of his trademarks, both in content (e.g. two rascally little boys adding a cute element) and in style (e.g. with regular use of those shots from the mat, directly into a character's face as he or she speaks). While some of those things and the overall primness of the film threatened to get on my nerves, I have to say, I enjoyed it, and it finished strong. In the film, Ozu gives us lessons in being gentle, patient, and bearing with the inevitable changes in life, and he does it in a simple way. Hara seems to be constantly smiling and cheery which may seem a little one-dimensional, but she ultimately stands up for herself in her own, non-confrontational way. The conversation she has with her friend, where the two discuss whether a love based on trust and friendship is true love, is deeply meaningful. The conversation she has with her sister-in-law while they're at the beach, the only one Ozu ever used a crane for, and where they talk about sacrifice and living a life without a lot of money, is as well. The film gradually builds you to these strong late scenes, so if you're less into it early on, I would encourage patience. The subtle way in which a possible marriage is discussed, and not directly by the two involved (being intentionally vague here), is both cute and an insight into the culture. There are also universal, sentimental themes. The mother and father (Chieko Higashiyama and Ichiro Sugai) turn in strong performances, and the scene where they talk about a son who was missing in action in the war is striking. Their posing for a family picture, all smiles and jovial between takes, but then looking solemn before the picture is taken, is fantastic. The father's silence and patience as events in his family unfold culminates eventually in him recognizing that we all wish we could stay together with family members as they are, but that things inevitably change. It's quite beautiful.

    There is a great harmony in everything about this film, which has a Japanese family of three generations wondering if it's time for the 28-year-old daughter (Setsuko Hara) to get married, and proposing an opportune match. Director Yasujiro Ozu uses many of his trademarks, both in content (e.g. two rascally little boys adding a cute element) and in style (e.g. with regular use of those shots from the mat, directly into a character's face as he or she speaks). While some of those things and the overall primness of the film threatened to get on my nerves, I have to say, I enjoyed it, and it finished strong. In the film, Ozu gives us lessons in being gentle, patient, and bearing with the inevitable changes in life, and he does it in a simple way. Hara seems to be constantly smiling and cheery which may seem a little one-dimensional, but she ultimately stands up for herself in her own, non-confrontational way. The conversation she has with her friend, where the two discuss whether a love based on trust and friendship is true love, is deeply meaningful. The conversation she has with her sister-in-law while they're at the beach, the only one Ozu ever used a crane for, and where they talk about sacrifice and living a life without a lot of money, is as well. The film gradually builds you to these strong late scenes, so if you're less into it early on, I would encourage patience. The subtle way in which a possible marriage is discussed, and not directly by the two involved (being intentionally vague here), is both cute and an insight into the culture. There are also universal, sentimental themes. The mother and father (Chieko Higashiyama and Ichiro Sugai) turn in strong performances, and the scene where they talk about a son who was missing in action in the war is striking. Their posing for a family picture, all smiles and jovial between takes, but then looking solemn before the picture is taken, is fantastic. The father's silence and patience as events in his family unfold culminates eventually in him recognizing that we all wish we could stay together with family members as they are, but that things inevitably change. It's quite beautiful.

  • Nov 28, 2017

    The contrast between the traditional and the modern Japanese woman is the main theme of this wonderful, "everyday life" film.

    The contrast between the traditional and the modern Japanese woman is the main theme of this wonderful, "everyday life" film.

  • Aug 14, 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.

    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.

  • Jul 27, 2016

    8.6/10, my review: http://wp.me/p1eXom-2xz

    8.6/10, my review: http://wp.me/p1eXom-2xz

  • Jun 20, 2016

    http://cinetarium.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-cool-criterion-summer-1-ozus-early.html

    http://cinetarium.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-cool-criterion-summer-1-ozus-early.html

  • Jan 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.

    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.

  • Jun 04, 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

    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.

    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.

    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.

  • Feb 09, 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.

    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.