Starring: Keiji Sada, Yoshiko Kuga, Kuniko Miyake
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Running Time: 94 mins
Good Morning is a Japanese film about the trappings of daily life in a small town, where gossip runs rife and little scandals appear every day, while two young boys do everything they can to make their parents buy them a television.
Director Yasujirô Ozu is well-known for his insightful and moving portrayals of modern life, delving in deep to what makes people tick, and the ever-growing divide between generations and different ways of life. In that, he has been at the helm of some of cinema’s greatest classics, but they can often seem a little intimidating if you’re looking for something a little lighter to watch.
That’s where films like Good Morning come in, with a wonderfully sweet and light-hearted atmosphere that features entertaining characters, properly funny humour, and all of the depth that Ozu is best known for, making for a thoroughly engaging and satisfying watch that’s just as enjoyable from beginning to end.
The film’s premise is simple, the life of a few families in a small town on the outskirts of Tokyo, as they encounter all sorts of typical obstacles and situations that anyone can relate to. It’s not a melodramatic, grandiose piece, but a very down-to-earth story that’s easy to understand, making Good Morning one of Ozu’s most accessible films, and one that paints an excellent portrait of what so many of us go through every day.
So, the little town features a few lively characters, from the gossipy neighbours to the boisterious children, and that lends a good humorous energy to the movie, taking a little bit of the edge off simply being a slice-of-life drama.
In that, while the movie’s down-to-earth nature is pleasing and engrossing, it works just as well as a genuinely entertaining comedy, with those enjoyably zany characters playing in well to the occasional bit of comic license that plays with everyday situations, allowing for consistent and funny jokes throughout that are sure to put a smile on your face.
And in the end, that’s what I liked most about Good Morning. There’s a lot to it, and its portrayal of all the trappings of modern life is both engrossing and impressive, but its most memorable element is its sheer likability. With a sweet, relaxed and light-hearted atmosphere that works well with the small-town setting, coupled with good humour and the odd bit of satire on everyday life, it’s a thoroughly endearing film, with laughs and relatable intrigue aplenty, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.8 overall.