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Reviews & Ratings for
Late Autumn More at IMDbPro »Akibiyori (original title)

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32 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Approachable Ozu masterpiece

Author: Daniel Vazquez from United Kingdom
9 February 2006

Ozu's common themes of ageing, filial ties and modernisation are as present here as in many other of his films. But in this film, as well as the melancholy and gentleness we are accustomed to, there are large doses of comedy which makes this film far more accessible for the uninitiated.

The story centres around a widow (Setsuko Hara) and her daughter (Yoko Tsukasa). The daughter doesn't want to get married because she wants to care for her mother, whereas the mother wants her daughter to marry even though she realises she'll be left alone. So far everything is extremely familiar. Except that in this case the dead husband's friends get involved, trying to find suitors for both mother and daughter, thus creating comical situations, causing family tensions, and finally necessitating for the daughter's friend to step in and sort out the mess.

All in all highly recommended for anyone who wishes to try out this highly prestigious director, and a strong reminder for fans of why we love him so much.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Late-Period Ozu Reworks "Late Spring" by Focusing on a Mother-Daughter Bonding

Author: Ed Uyeshima from San Francisco, CA, USA
24 July 2007

Even though the comparison is obviously intentional, Yasujiro Ozu's 1960 film is really a variation on his classic 1949 father-daughter drama, "Late Spring". He goes further with this parallel by having the wondrous Setsuko Hara, who played the daughter in the original film, play the mother in this one, even though only eleven years have elapsed. Gone is the alternately feisty, flirtatious and petulant manner that marked her earlier performance as Noriko, and in its place is that remarkable stillness and quiet warmth in her portrayal of Akiko that marked the best of Hara's later performances. She was barely forty during filming, yet she carries the gravitas of her role with uncommon ease. What remains consistent between her two performances is the unearthly devotion which ties the characters intractably to the world in which they have grown accustomed.

Ozu wrote the quietly perceptive script with longtime collaborator Kogo Noda, and the filmmaker's trademark touches - the narrative ellipses, the lack of melodrama, the low camera angles - are all here in their emotionally resonant glory. This time, the character of Akiko has such an easy sisterly bond with her daughter Ayako that neither has an interest in dating or marriage. While Akiko's situation is more or less accepted by society, Ayako's single status is a point of consternation, especially for three friends of Akiko's late husband, all of whom express feelings of unrequited love for the unavailable Akiko. They are jointly intent on finding Ayako a suitable husband and find one in Goto, a young, well-mannered bachelor with a suitable career. Akiko, however, demurs at the possibility of matrimony which leads the story through its inevitable paces.

Yôko Tsukasa is pretty and affecting as Ayako, though honestly no match for the younger Hara in the earlier film. More of that uninhibited spirit is present in Mariko Okada, who plays Ayako's friend and colleague Yuriko. She has a terrifically abrasive and amusing confrontation with the trio of embarrassed matchmakers, and the result comes across as a bit of an imbalance to the viewer now since Yuriko's Westernized independence is more compelling than Ayako's more innate diffidence. Adding more to the comedic aspects of the story, Shin Saburi, Nabuo Nakamura and Ryuji Kita play the matchmaking trio almost like a Shakespearean comedy troupe. Interestingly, Ozu uses a decidedly Italianate-sounding score to underscore the action, a nice unpredictable touch. This well-preserved film is not as essential as "Late Spring", but it is a worthy addition to Ozu's filmography.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

An Update of "Late Spring", except the girls rule.

Author: crossbow0106 from United States
21 January 2008

This story is basically a retelling of the excellent "late Spring", except now the always engaging Setsuko Hara plays the mother in the film rather than the daughter. The daughter, the beautiful Ayako played by Yoko Tsukasa, is being told its time to marry. Three friends of her late father (essentially uncles) attempt to arrange a suitable partner for her. Ozu has updated his films before and he always manages to keep them fresh. This time, it is both humorous as well as poignant. A great addition to the story is Ayako's best friend Yuriko, a spitfire who isn't afraid to speak her mind. I especially like the relationship of Akiko (Hara) and Ayako as mother and daughter. They seem very comfortable with each other. In the previous "Late Spring", there was more tension. That is what gives "late Spring" the nod as the better film, it is a masterpiece. In this film the acting is uniformly good to great and there are some standout scenes, especially between the always beautiful, gifted actress Setsuko Hara and Yoko Tsukasa. There is also a great scene between Yuriko and the three men who are trying to find a suitor for Ayako. By all means, watch this film, but don't miss "late Spring". This film is available on the 5 disc "Late Ozu" set and both the film and box set are highly recommended.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Lightness of touch with a tinge of sadness

Author: GyatsoLa from Ireland
15 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of many great movies by Ozu, this is an apparently simple comedy (a comedy that puts a smile on your face rather than guffaws of laughter) but with depths of feeling and sadness that are, as always with Ozu movies, so unexpected. Although not by any means a 'major' or 'serious' movie, its full of touches that show what a masterly director he was.

Arranged marriages have a bad name for many people - I was very surprised on a recent trip to Kyoto to be told that they are still quite common - but this is a movie that shows that they are as full of the complexities and pitfalls of conventional romance. The story revolves around the clumsy attempts of three well meaning men to help out the wife of their late friend by acting as matchmakers for his daughter. Its complicated by the fact that all three of them were in love with the mother in their early years - unsurprising as the mother is played by the always luminous Setsuko Hara. The daughter is less than impressed by the matchmaking, especially when the men decide to set up one of their number with her mother.

The plot is in many ways very similar to Ozu's wonderful 'Late Spring', which starred many of the same actors. But while Late Spring was full of thematic richness and drama, this movie is a lot simpler, but is equally bitter sweet at the end. The happiness of the older characters at marrying off the younger generation is matched with an awareness of the loneliness of old age. Its also worth noting that the usual imaginative Ozu camera angles in this movie are matched with gorgeous colour and lovely set design.

One point of interest for this movie is that it was clearly intended as a crowd pleaser. For those who think that Ozu is too 'arty', this movie shows why he was hugely popular with ordinary cinema-goers in Japan and remains so to this day. His simple stories resonated deeply with Japanese people at a time of great change, but his genius is in the universality of these movies - they have never truly dated, the are as insightful and fascinating as ever.

In summary, this is not a movie in itself that will convince the doubtful about Ozu's right to be considered one of the all time great directors, but it is a delightful movie for any cinema lover (or for that matter, anyone interested in Japanese culture) to enjoy.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:


Author: samhill5215 from United States
14 November 2010

Of Ozu's trilogy on marriage Japanese style this one is my favorite. In fact many of my comments apply to the other two, Late Spring (1949) and Early Summer (1951). All three deal with the concept of marriage as seen in traditional Japanese society and even though to my western eyes it seems antiquated, Ozu manages to present it as a sensible, inherently logical way to pair two people. But what ultimately attracts me to his work is his presentation. The plot unfolds in a slow, languorous way. It's linear but with gaps in time which are fully explained so that we are not left guessing as to intervening events. What we see and hear is the important stuff. We, in essence, are eavesdropping on intimate family conversations, the kind of things discussed at every dinner table, things important to a family but more or less irrelevant to the outside world. Somehow Ozu makes that interesting. Naturally the actors play an important part and the presence of two of my favorite Japanese actors, Setsuko Hara and Chisu Ryu, in all three are a definite plus. So why is this one my favorite? Humor and lots of it. The first two are rather serious, drama-filled works where the characters exhibit much angst. Late Autumn on the other hand is light and airy, there's a bounce to it, and it's filled with a lot of sexual innuendo that is completely absent from the others. It's as if Ozu was saying to us that the post-WWII years was a time for Japan to buckle down to the serious work of rebuilding society. By 1960 the joy of living had returned to his country. It could afford the bumbling of three well-meaning and occasionally lecherous men whose efforts at match-making were only half successful.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

an excellent film, touching and tear-provoking

Author: zzhou5 from United States
7 September 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

just a simple family story rendered so touching: a mother and a daughter were confronted with choice of life when the father died. The dilemma involves the conflict of traditional Japanese values and modern individuality.

The story ends with the mother's self-sacrifice for the daughter's happy marriage. The disintegration of a family to embrace the new generation's happiness, in my eyes , is always cruel but inevitable

The film is tinged with nostalgia and subtle feelings. The end is my favorite: the mother's expression, half sad and suddenly lighted up... quite an antidote to the Hollywood's Happy-end

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Possess Your Soul In Patience

Author: museumofdave from Corning, California
15 March 2013

If you have never seen a film by Yasujiro Ozu, you may have difficulty adjusting to his restrained and subtle handling of emotions; identifying Ozu as a director not known for action-packed narrative is massive understatement, as his films reflect a less hectic time and an ancient culture slowly coming to terms with change.

On the surface, this film is simply about the separation occurring as a daughter marries and a parent is left behind. With Ozu, however, carefully and consistently arranging composition, with gentle humor and a quiet observation of the human condition, there is much to be gained from reflection, from watching people realistically and patiently coming to terms with change. No one screams and throws dishes, no one bleeds copiously or falls out of a window, no one even runs across the street. My grandmother used to say "possess your soul in patience," and that said, a viewer may need to do just that with Late Autumn; the willing viewer will be amply rewarded with this amazing examination of calm resignation in the face of a life change

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Ozu expands his view to include mothers.

Author: bobsgrock from United States
14 December 2012

In many ways a retread of his earlier masterpiece Late Spring, which dealt with the relationship between a widowed father and his marry-able daughter, Ozu returned to familiar territory as he often did late in his career for a look at the flip-side. Here, the mother is widowed and desires to see her daughter married and happy. Three friends determine to intervene, leaving a trail of misunderstandings and hurt feelings in their attempt to appease all involved.

While this is certainly a familiar story for Ozu to tell, he somehow manages to inject new life into it every time out. Through a beautiful color palette and his famous visual style, Ozu explores a world of postwar Japan that finally appears to be picking itself up fifteen years after World War II. Western dress and behavior continues to seep into Japanese culture and Ozu seems to be picking up on the rapid evolution of change within his country throughout these late career works. His lack of interest in plot and storytelling leaves the viewer more time to focus on the atmosphere, the context in which the story is set. The result is a very pensive and serene feeling as one realizes that no matter what time or place, humans will always desire certain things. Companionship, love and happiness will never go out of style, even for widowed women.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Expertly crafted but terribly familiar.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
12 June 2012

I have seen practically every film available that were directed by Yasujirô Ozu. While he's considered by many to be a genius, I would say that he was an ultra-conservative--a man who developed some interesting techniques and story ideas but never really changed with the times. So, if you see an Ozu film from 1935, 45, 55 or the early 60s, there is an amazing sameness about them--something no other director ever accomplished. This is not criticism--this is fact. Ozu did stories about the Japanese family--and very often about widowed parents striving to get their now adult children married. And, his actual techniques didn't vary much. Although "Late Autumn" is in color (a few of his later ones were), it uses the same stationary camera and floor level for the shots. Ozu truly was a man who liked to do variations on the same themes and in the same styles! Because of this, while "Late Autumn" is expertly crafted, it really isn't innovative in the least other than making both the main characters women.

This story begins with a memorial service for a man who has been dead for several years. After the service, three friends of the deceased and his widow discuss her as well as her 24 year-old daughter. They love these women and it hurts them to see the daughter is still unmarried despite being a lovely person. So, the three schemers decide that it's their task to get the girl married--whether she likes it or not! Unfortunately, their plans don't always go as they intended and ultimately it takes one of the young lady's friends to give them some assistance.

Other than this film be very mildly comic as well as the use of the three friends, the film is yet another lovely and very deliberately paced Ozu film. If you haven't seen too many of his films, then by all means watch this one. If you have and feel you've gone down this same road many times before, they try a film by another fine director. Even die-hard fans would agree that there is an amazing similarity between this and most of Ozu's films--particularly his later ones.

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11 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Overly familiar retread of former achievements.

Author: theskulI42 from Denver, CO
28 August 2008

Well, it was bound to happen eventually: The more films I viewed from noted Japanese auteur Yasujiro Ozu, there was going to come a time when my well of interest ran dry. I have now seen ten of his films, and Ozu seems unique among filmmakers, even the most praised, by being essentially the anti-Billy Wilder. Where Wilder's mind was so brilliantly scattered that he did pictures in nearly every conceivable genre, and did them well, Ozu was always more interested in mining different stories out of the same cloth, hopping from patch to patch on a quilt of nuanced familial drama. Where Wilder branched out, Ozu dug his roots in deep. He had an exclusive stable of actors, comprising some of the most talented and, like their helmsman, subtly versatile actors in the business, including the transcendent Chishu Ryu and the great Sestuko Hara, appearing here as the mother to the always-adorable Yoko Tsukasa, essaying the role that Hara herself brought to life in Late Spring. Ryu has the remarkable ability to present to us a man of any age with very little in the way of physical alterations (in the span of five years, he played father, brother and grandfather to Hara and was utterly convincing in all). Hara has the exact opposite gift: That of an ageless wonder. Early on in Late Autumn, a comment is made that Hara and her daughter Tsukasa look more like sisters than mother-daughter, and it's absolutely true. In the eleven-year span from Spring to Autumn, Hara has swapped roles but kept the same face, and she brings her A-game yet again, looking more weary and fatigued than ever before.

But there's a problem. Where Ozu's style had always seemed evocative and direct, here is seems...stilted and awkward. The use of direct address in discussions seems disjointed and stiff. What felt emotionally confrontational in Late Spring comes off here as almost amateurish, merely content to blandly cut back and forth between one talking head and another. The fact that he's done that all his career perhaps says something about this film as an individual entity. Or perhaps it's just become all too familiar. When you're looking to derive a myriad of tales from the same few thematic points, there's always the danger of indifference; having the same actors play similar characters doing similar things in similar ways in movies with similar titles, it's a testament to his brilliance that he managed to make it more than one film, but here, it all just strikes of creative exhaustion: He's seemingly run out of stories to the point that he's now reworking the similar stories he's already done, as this is almost directly a remake of his 1949 masterpiece Late Spring, except mostly from the female perspective. While it appears to be a monumental shift for such a gradual director (I still remember first experiencing Tokyo Story and being so startled by its singular tracking shot that I was shaken to my core), actually far too little is new. Most of the motions and emotions we are presented with were all essentially inferred in Late Spring, and this seems if nothing else, an unnecessary diversion to a place we're already been.

Now this is not to say that the film is a complete dud. Everyone involved is so talented that they can't help but stumble into several moments of effective heartstrain, most notable the touching restraint of the final shot, but I just can't shake the feeling that with Late Autumn, instead of hopping to a new stitch on the quilt, he's stepping right back onto trampled-down, treaded ground. Where Late Spring presented this story and devastated me, going right to my heart and laying me out flat. To Late Autumn I'm a bit more...subdued. I never connected to the characters or the situation in any tangible or meaningful way, and my response to the film was less "Holy crap" and more "ho-hum".

{Grade: 6.5/10 (B-/C+) / #24 (of 34) of 1960}

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