Director Yasujiro Ozu's final film, and a rare outing in color for him, continues his quietly observed explorations of family dynamics in postwar Japan. Frequent Ozu star Chishu Ryu plays Shuhei Hirayama, an aging widower whose three children each depend upon him in varying degrees.
The eldest, Kazuo, who is married, is a spendthrift who purchases a new set of golf clubs, then hits up his indulgent dad for a loan to buy a refrigerator. The middle child, daughter Michiko, is a 24-year-old still living at home and happy to be the domestic fulcrum between her father and her younger brother, Koichi, a willful teenager.
Shuhei's conviction that Michiko isn't ready for marriage scares away a potential suitor in whom she is also interested. But the old man has a change of heart after a long drinking session with several buddies, who warn him that Michiko might wind up an old maid, trapped in the web of loneliness he knows all too well.
He arranges a marriage for her, and she finds herself caught between her own desires and her duty to her father. The story ends on the late afternoon of Michiko's wedding day, as Shuhei returns to his home to face life on his own, resigned to the fact that his daughter's happiness comes before his own.