Wife (1953)

Wife (Tsuma)wife dve
Directed by Mikio Naruse
Written by Toshirô Ide from a novel by Fumiko Hayashi
1953/Japan
Toho Company
First viewing/Hulu

 

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. – Socrates

It is a unique movie about infidelity that has me rooting 100% for the husband.

Toichi and Mieko Takamine have been married for ten years and have no children.  Any spark they ever had with each other is long gone.  Mieko, the wife, has given up entirely. She puts together disgusting meals, has no table manners, and is stingy in every way. The couple don’t talk to each other much.  Then Sagara, a widow at work, asks Toichi to join her for a visit to an art exhibition.  Before long they are seeing each other frequently. Finally, they admit their love to each other just before Sagara has to move to Osaka.

wife 1

After awhile, Toichi has to go to Osaka on business and looks Sagara up.  They spend a whole weekend together.  Then Sagara comes up to Tokyo.  The Takamine’s border had previously seen Toichi and Sagara together and now tips off Mieko.  The rest of the movie follows Mieko’s desperate attempts to break up the relationship.

wife 2

I thought this was only OK, though it gets much better in the last half hour.  It was surprised by the non-Hollywood ending.  I was rooting for something even more surprising,however.

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