Early Summer is a pleasant Ozu. A gentle and slightly meandering film about a family living in the countryside, a fine setup for an enjoyable Japanese drama. The only thing that truly bothered me was the black-and-white cinematography, which completely crushes that Japanese summer mood.
The film focuses on Noriko, and 28-year-old woman who still hasn't married yet. Her family is a little annoyed by the fact that she hasn't settled for a man yet, but Noriko isn't too pressed. In fact, she has other plans for her life. But then her boss finds her an ideal suitor, and her family will do everything in their power to convince her.
The performances are solid and understated, especially compared to other films of that time. The drama is relatively slow but subtle and light-hearted. The only thing missing is the bright, overwhelming greens of the Japanese countryside, which is now shown in a dulled grey. It doesn't really breathe summer, which is something you'd expect from a film with this title.