Widowed Bertha Jacoby has led a relatively sheltered, monocultural existence in the same predominantly Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood for most of her adult life, and as such has fairly traditional Jewish values. She is taken aback not only when her son-in-law Jerry Black announces that he and Bertha's daughter Alice Black are moving to Tokyo on Jerry's next diplomatic corps assignment, but that they want her to move there with them so that she won't be all alone. Despite her anti-Japanese sentiments - David, her only son, having been killed in WWII in the Pacific Theater - Bertha reluctantly agrees. They will fly from New York to San Francisco, and sail from there. Against the odds, Bertha befriends on board the ship Koichi Asano, a wealthy widowed Japanese businessman with who Jerry and the American contingent will be entering into sensitive negotiations. Jerry and Alice are wary of Bertha and Mr. Asano's friendship, not only because of the cultural differences but because they believe... Written by
Some have criticized this picture for not featuring genuine Japanese actors in the leading roles. Remember: this was shot in '61 and there weren't any big name Japanese actors in Hollywood then. Viewers should suspend disbelief and just enjoy the story. Guinness does a good job and brings dry humor to the portrayal. Russell's Jewish Mommele is a bit overdone and laid on with a trowel, but still not bad. The personal stories and exchanges between the two are very touching and I like the rebuke to the younger folks who haven't the life experience to make the judgements about race and religion.
The final scene is priceless and moving.
I give the picture a 9 instead of a 10 only because the Eddie character was a bit annoying.
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