Early Spring

Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Year Released: 1956
Rating: 2.5

Workaholic Sugi spends his 'overtime hours' (nudge, nudge) with chirpy fun gal 'Goldfish' while dutiful but depressed wife Masako waits at home for him. The basic association that long hours spent doing work (in this case, white collar work) can cause extreme malaise and lead to escape via alcohol and mahjong (slurping noodles with ol' military buds) isn't exactly mind-blowing, nor does it warrant the extended treatment Ozu gives it. The side characters' stories don't have much of an impact, and Ozu's solution for the married couple's troubles is a transfer for Sugi from Tokyo to some remote area where he can't stray so the two have a better chance to 'bond' (and he believes it!). If that isn't optimism, I don't know what is.