Saturday, June 7, 2014

Criterion on FilmStruck: Good Morning (1959)

Good Morning movie poster
Good Morning (1959) - Directed by Yasujiro Ozu; Written by Kogo Noda and Ozu; Starring Keiji Sada, Yoshiko Kuga, Chishu Ryu, Masahiko Shimazu.

By Kenny Howell

Two brothers take a vow of silence until they get a TV in this minor, but worthwhile Yasujiro Ozu work.

Since it is Ozu, it's not just about the little boys. It is about a small neighborhood, and how the small society works, particularly through communication. But, the real draw is the kids, especially the younger one, Isamu, played by Masahiko Shimazu. He is extremely cute without being overbearing, and his sincere nature really grounds the work, something that Ozu always did well.

The two little boys live in a very tight knit community. Instead of studying they spend their time eating pumice stones to make themselves pass gas, and watching their favorite sumo wrestlers on the television at their neighbor's house. They ask for a TV, but their parents refuse. They being their strike, refusing to speak until they get what they want. Problem is, their parents don't actually know why they aren't speaking.

On the flip side, the adults maybe speak too much. There is some miscommunication about some dues, and misunderstandings start rumors among some of the chatty neighbors.

I said this was a minor work, but that shouldn't be taken as a negative. That is comparing it to Ozu's greater works like Late Spring or Tokyo Story. This is quite good, it just doesn't reach  for the heights of those master works.

Good Morning is available on FilmStruck as a part of the Criterion Collection.

Rating: ***1/2

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