This starts as broad if uncomfortable comedy, based on the battle of the sexes and the strains of marriage in an imperfect world full of imperfect people. Slowly, tragic themes emerge as the desperation of the characters for love and security becomes clear and their aspirations become at the expense of each other. The comedy is rather obvious, with some character clichés and crude approaches. The tragedy is more subtle, with Ken Uehara expressing a world of feeling in a single glance. By the end of the film, the characters accept mundane reality in place of dreams though with disillusioned resignation rather than the contentment a sentimental Western film might display. The film's style changes, too, from unsatisfying short sequences in the first half to more typical Naruse long takes by the end.
Tokyo. Mihoko and Toichi Nakagawa's ten year marriage is crumbling out of inertia. Each knows the other isn't happy, they themselves aren't happy, but they don't talk about their problems ...
November 27, 2020