Yes, funny but look below the surface!
Mark L. Malaby | Tampa, Fl USA | 10/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a study in layers of meaning, layers so fine they are almost transparent. On the surface this is a comedy of misunderstandings, stereotypes, and intergenerational conflict. Below that this is a photographer's film. I think the color is intentional - Ozu used agfa stock which had a slightly unreal quality to it. Each shot is carefully composed, and once you're into it, quite beautiful. Below that, the running comment is how language is as important to life as passing gas. Even deeper, life is changing quickly - the economy is changing right under the parents' noses - beatniks, salesmen, American electronics, unemployment, forced retirement. Pretty heavy stuff for a scatalogical comedy. Finally, optomistically even, Ozu suggests that for love, language is relatively unimportant, and action is the real substance of character - be it helping a friend start over, smiling while being a stern father, or choosing to ride the train with a potential mate, even if you can't afford to marry. A comedy that is high art - with fart jokes - how can you go wrong?"
Delightful Sitcom Bears Ozu's Depth and Then Some
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 07/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Flatulence seems to be an odd way of lending a framework to a film, but leave it to filmmaking master Yasujiro Ozu to use it as a metaphor for the meaninglessness of "small talk" between people who cannot be candid with one another. The title of this 1959 movie, "Ohayô (Good Morning)", is indeed the salutation but also from Ozu's perspective, a symbolic expression of how the Japanese avoid confrontation and put a strong value on etiquette. One of Ozu's late period color films, this is a very cute comedy which on the surface, seems like an extended episode of "Leave It to Beaver" especially in exhibiting the speedy Americanization of Japan since WWII. Even the color palette seems to evoke the muted McCarthy-era colors of the Universal comedies release around the same time. What remains consistent are Ozu's signature visual compositions - the use of the hillside to place the horizon in the middle of the frame, the use of silhouettes against the hillside, the movement of figures darting between the identical homes.
Set in a shoebox-tight housing community in Tokyo, the plot seamlessly interweaves the activities of five households - four of the more traditional variety and the fifth, a young beatnik couple who has the prized possession of the neighborhood, a TV set, which draws all the children in like clockwork after school. In the meantime, the housewives discover their association dues are missing and in "Peyton Place"-style, rumors swirl that the culprit is the woman who just bought a washing machine. Further subplots involve an unemployed English teacher, who can only speak banalities to the woman he loves; an older unemployed man who habitually gets drunk at the local bar and can't find his own home since they all look alike; and the funniest about two young brothers, the older particularly obstreperous in furiously sharing his all-too-perceptive observations of the adults - and practicing a strike of silence when their parents refuse to buy a TV set. Of course, that doesn't prevent the brothers and their friends from playing competitive rounds of "pull my finger" - a tap on the forehead yields a forced fart.
The performances are charming and quite undemanding with several members of Ozu's regular troupe present - Chishu Ryu and Kuniko Miyake (the father and older son's wife in "Tokyo Story") as the put-upon parents of the TV-demanding brothers; Haruko Sugimura (the petty daughter in "Tokyo Story") as the accused dues pilferer; and Toyoko Takahashi (the Onomichi neighbor in "Tokyo Story") as another of the gossipy housewives. As the young people unable to articulate their feelings for each other, Keiji Sada is the English teacher and Yoshiko Kuga is the boys' shy aunt, who couriers the documents for translation. And as the brothers, 13-year old Koji Shitara plays Minoru and seven-year old Masahiko Shimazu is Isamu, the latter particularly adorable when mimicking his older brother. This movie is certainly not in the class of "Tokyo Story" or "Floating Weeds", but I doubt if Ozu intended it to be. It's just a gentle, well-coordinated, sometimes hilarious poke at Japanese cultural traditions, a parable masquerading as a family comedy. Personally this is the Ozu film I can relate to the most since it speaks to my generation of Japanese-born Americans. The DVD package from the Criterion Collection is surprisingly sparse - no audio commentary, no trailer - but the video transfer and sound quality are excellent."
Slight Ozu, not "second-rate" Ozu
Rajesh Balkrishnan | Winston-Salem, NC United States | 03/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With all due respect to the previous reviewer, I do not belive that Ozu has ever made a "second-rate" film. Good Morning is cheerful and slight, but it is a charming comedy of manners, and is a refreshing change of style for a director much more well recognized for his domestic serious drams on meditations on life and the transience of human existence. I will agree that it quite does not pack the punch of "I was Born but..", but is is very charming and entertaining in its own way. I am glad that Ozu was able to leave us with the beautiful swan-song "Autumn Afternoon" shot in lovely color, as a fond remembrance of his genius."
Rolfe Horn | Oakland, CA United States | 12/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good film. It made me laugh, smile, and think about how Ozu portrayed life in that place and era. I have watched it three times in the last year, and I always pick something new up with each viewing. The absence of camera movement is refreshing, allowing one to see the details within the composition of the scene. I recommend this film highly."