Only Yesterday 1991 Review- Did you like this Japanese animated movie? *Spoilers*


Only Yesterday 1991, also goes by the name Memories Come Tumbling Down is an animated drama which is written and directed by Isao Takahata. Well, the movie is based on manga released in 1982 having the same name created by Hotaru Okamoto and Yuko Tone. The movie has a duration of 118 minutes and is produced by none other than Studio Ghibli.

The movie is rarely talked about so I wanted to cover the same. Since I have waited terrifically long, let us get going with the review part.

5 Things You Might Have Liked About Only Yesterday 1991

The Story-

Only Yesterday 1991 is the story of Taeko Okajima, who lives an independent life in Tokyo. She works 9-5 and grants herself self-care time with 10 days of leave to go farming once a year. She finds it natural in herself to join her distant relative in their farming activities once a year. She finds bliss and enjoys the time wholeheartedly.

The narrative of the story shows us flashbacks from her childhood when she was only 10. She remembers all her significant memories that play a huge role in defining herself the way she is now. Well, the references were very relatable to me. I don’t know about others, but I felt a connection with the story.

There is family life, school life, professional life, and lastly the life which we want, and Only Yesterday 1991 showed all of these corners of lives in a very retable manner.

The Characters-

The movie begins with adult Taeko who is happy to take 10 days of leave to visit the village for farming. She is extremely happy and enjoys the way she is living her life right now. She is very kind, dependable, understanding, and very warm. There is a smile on her face all the time. She also taught us that it’s important to choose the life we want to be happy and at peace.

The 10-year-old Taeko is also very nice, she is bad at maths but very good at writing essays. She is the youngest and hence gets ignored most of the time. She is kind, she is a dreamer, and a non-judgy kid, unlike her classmates. She hates onions but is a talented actor. She is helpful but does not like getting hand-me-downs.

Taeko’s family was not nice to her, they pulled her down most of the time; no wonder she lives alone. The best thing is, even after a nonappreciable childhood, Taeko grew up a very nice young girl, who I liked a lot.

The village people, where Taeko preferred staying were more than family to her. They loved her, enjoyed her company, and welcomed her with their warm heart. They were extremely generous and wanted her 10 days to be pleasant and thoroughly comfortable. They even threw the proposal of Taeko getting married there in the village and staying there forever.

Let us now talk about Toshio. From the very beginning, Toshio hinted to us about his romantic feelings for Taeko. He was always smiling when he was with Taeko, have you noticed it? He also listens to our protagonist and understands her hidden emotions deeply. He was there, teaching Taeko new stuff about farming, most importantly ‘Organic Farming.’ which kind of got added to her list of chores.

But Taeko was happy. Her realization of letting Toshio close to her, then imagining a village life with Toshio gave us a window to watch, that she would live the best life she wants, with a content heart. It was very nice actually.

Only Yesterday 1991 Source- Studio Ghibli
Only Yesterday 1991 Source- Studio Ghibli

The Music-

The music of Only Yesterday 1991 was very gentle similar to every Studio Ghibli movie. The eventful scores added robustness to the occasions and were very detailed. The Hungarian music along with the country music touched my soul. You can even play those tunes on your road trip to your country home.

The Direction-

The direction by Isao Takahata was very homely. It was very wholesome, one will find a sense of tranquility developing as the story advances. The simplicity was prominent which kind of exhibited how simple Taeko is.

The Ending-

The ending was happy. Taeko leaves for her regular life, however, her ten-year-old self shakes her up to return back and choose the life she actually wants. Well, we tend to ignore such emotions because of family & financial situations. Luckily Taeko was independent enough to take such a decision for herself. It was inspiring, empowering, and certainly encouraging.

Things You Might Have Not Liked About Only Yesterday 1991

I liked Only Yesterday 1991 a lot, however, there are some major issues that we need to talk about right now. It’s about parenting, friendship, and the future shown in the movie. Taeko was never appreciated for her success and rather heavily criticized for the things which she never liked, like wasting onions and being poor in maths.

She showed her creativity as Village Girl A, which the teacher dismissed but fortunately was a hit. Nevertheless, the father rejected her prospect to grow as a kid artist. The sad thing is that her mother lies about her being shy and does not reveal her father’s refusal on the matter to the theater people.

Her being not good in maths was not normalized, and her being good at writing essays was never talked about. Her sisters never gave her time, they were busy in their life. Also, her being slapped by her father for running out of the house in her socks was once again very poor.

Her school memories were nice though. However, she never got the chance to talk for herself, her friend always interfered. Her being liked by a boy, eating pineapple for the first time, coming to know about the menstrual cycle, not getting the chance to be a part of a theatre, not getting the handshake, and dealing with life all by herself was very brave of her. She was not a quitter.

TOTT’s Take On Only Yesterday 1991

Only Yesterday 1991 is one of my favorite movies, that I can watch a lot of time and can’t get enough of it. You might not find the movie as interesting and as fascinating as the other Ghibli movies, however, I feel a connection to the movie holistically.

I would love to rate the movie, Only Yesterday 1991

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

So tell me what’s your call on the film? Make sure to like, comment and subscribe.

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