Frail, elderly couple Tomi and Shukishi (Higashiyama and Ryu) set off from their rural village to visit their children in the hustle-bustle world of modern-day Tokyo. But when they arrive, doctor-son Koichi (Yamamura) and beauty salon proprietor Shige (Sugimura) are too busy to visit and send the disappointed old folks to a health resort. Only their daughter-in-law Noriko (Hara) takes time to show them the highlights of the city. Yet later, an unexpected illness leads the elder children to regret their selfish inattention.
One of the enduring classics by celebrated master Ozu, this melancholic dissection of family dynamics in postwar Japan may sound simplistic, but "Story" packs an emotional punch as it observes the erosion of traditional values in modern times. Among a uniformly strong cast, Higashiyama and Ryu give low-key, heartbreaking performances as the jilted parents — who seem bewildered as much by the clamor of the city as by their children's inhospitable behavior. "Story" may be understated, but Ozu's quiet, immobile visual style and deft direction reflect the nuances of everyday existence like no one else.