Tokyo boshoku Reviews
The older daughter is played reasonably well by Setsuko Hara, but she's upstaged by Ineko Arima, who plays her rebellious younger sister. The scenes with Arima frustrated by her lover's games, dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, and wondering if she was the product of an affair of her mother's are among the best in the film. It was interesting to contrast the handling of abortion by director Yasujiro Ozu with that by 'new wave' director Nagisa Oshima (Cruel Story of Youth, 1960), and the American Robert Mulligan (Love with the Proper Stranger, 1963).
The issues I had with the film all relate back to Ozu's direction. Early on in the film you'll notice actors often staring directly into the camera as they deliver their dialogue, particularly the father (Chishu Ryu). These simple shots seem dated, even for the time period. As the film progresses, it's too ponderous in many of its shots and scenes, such that it ends up being much too long at 140 minutes. Lastly, I disliked the fact that it was ultimately a morality tale. With a heavy hand, Ozu essentially tells us it's important to keep a marriage together even if it's unhappy, because one parent will not be enough. The message is dated, and his delivery lacks artistry.
Oh, and why is this NC-17? You kidding?