This is my favorite movie by my favorite director, meaning that its the movie that touches me more than any movie I have seen.
I feel like I know the main characters, Noriko and her father, so well, their relationships, and the culture in which they exist and move. I cannot imagine a deeper potrayal of these characters as that given by Setsuko Hara as Noriko and Chishu Ryu as her father, and the supporting cast is superb. I favor movies in which character and releationship development is more important than plot, and this movie is all about character. The understatment continually present in this film, the gentleness and love of this father and daughter relationship brought out by powerful and remarkable perfomances, and the cultural context within which the characters must act result in Yasujiro Ozu's most perfect film.
The direction by Yasujiro Ozu is revolutionary and without equal, ostensibly spurning all cinematic devices, yet creating what is his and his alone, the simple, the most simple, unobstructed view that allows us to see the characters move in the physical context of each scene; to feel what they feel; and the still shots of the town, views that people who live in this town would see everyday, coupled with the background music grounds the viewer in the time and space of this personal, spiritual, and family drama. Each scene is like a masterpiece unto itself.
Yasujiro Ozu has several masterpieces, and for me, this is his most flawless and touching film.