Akiko Miwa (Setsuko Hara) is a middle-aged widow with a 24-year-old daughter, Ayako. At a memorial service for her late husband Mr. Miwa, three of Mr. Miwa's old college buddies—Taguchi, Hirayama, and Mamiya—drink sake and reminisce. The conversation turns to the two women, as the three men, all of whom wooed Akiko years ago before Miwa won her, remark admiringly how attractive she still is in middle age. From there the discussion goes to the daughter, as the three men note how odd it is that Ayako still lives with her mother and hasn't married yet. They resolve to match her up. Eventually they realize that Ayako is reluctant to leave her mother living alone, so they resolve to marry her off as well. And who better to marry Akiko than one of them, namely Mr. Hirayama, himself a widower?
None of the three men stop to consider that they're sticking their noses into someone else's business. Neither do they consider whether or not Ayako wants to get married; as it happens she doesn't, preferring to stay home and take care of her mom. And while Akiko is willing to let her daughter go off on her own, she also has no interest in getting married.
Remake of a 1949 Ozu film, Late Spring, which also starred Setsuko Hara.
- Alcohol Hic: Yuriko is hiccuping after a night out drinking with Hirayama, Mamiya, and Taguchi.
- Awful Wedded Life: An understated and realistic example with the Taguchis, who have been married a long time and clearly can't stand each other. Mrs. Taguchi is smiling and showing Japanese Politeness as she calls her husband a liar for denying his old attraction to Akiko. In that same conversation she muses about how after being married for long enough people "just give up."Mr. Taguchi: Marriage is really tedious when you think about it.
- Bittersweet Ending: The 1949 film is a grim, sad Downer Ending, with the daughter strong-armed into an Arranged Marriage with a man she barely knows, while her father is left in despair. This film lightens that ending to an extent by making Goto, the man Ayako marries, someone she actually likes and was dating on her own even before the three men muddled. Akiko's wan smile at the end of this film contrast with the father's mask of grief at the end of the previous film.
- Brutal Honesty: Hirayama's son. In response to Hirayama's tentative question about getting married again, the son says that he's all for it, because if his dad doesn't remarry, he'll want to live with the son and his future wife and he'll be a nuisance."You'll get in the way and it will be tough on my wife."
- Dirty Old Man: The three middle-aged men are a little too willing to talk about how good-looking the mother and daughter are.
- Gender Flip: The meddling aunt that engineers the daughter's marriage in the 1949 film is turned into three middle-aged men in this version. And the role of the father gets turned into a mother, so Hara could play the part.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Hirayama's horniness in late middle age, which is driving his quest to marry Akiko, is referred to by Hirayama and his buddies as an "itch".Hirayama: But there are certain things...
Mamiya: You mean an itch you can't scratch?
Hirayama: You might say that.
- The Matchmaker: Three middle-aged businessmen and old friends with too much time on their hands that resolve to get their deceased old buddy's daughter married off.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Once she finds out the degree to which the three men have been meddling—specifically that they told Ayako her mother wants to marry Hirayama, which was a straight-up lie—Yuriko rips into the three of them in an immensely satisfying speech.Yuriko: No answer? What could possibly be so amusing about your little stunt?
- Remake Cameo:
- Chishū Ryu appeared in almost every film Ozu ever made. In Late Spring he plays the parent who is reluctant to let his daughter go. In this movie he has a smaller role as Akiko's uncle.
- And a Remake Starring Role for Hara, who played the daughter getting married off against her will in the 1949 film, but in this one plays the parent.
- Signature Shot: Contains the Ozu Signature Shots: the shot-reverse shot framing conversations as two people centered in the screen looking at the camera, and the tatami shot with the camera positioned three feet off the ground at the height of a person kneeling on a tatami mat.
- Slice of Life: Like everything else Ozu ever made. This one is a simple story about a middle-aged mother and her young daughter, and the anxiety caused by the prospect of the daughter getting married and leaving home.
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Japanese Honorifics, refused. When Mamiya calls Yuriko "Yuri-chan", an affectionate diminutive usually aimed at younger women, a pissed-off Yuriko demands he address her as "Yuriko".