Make Way for Tomorrow
Sixteen years before Yasujiro Ozu made his 1953 masterpiece Tokyo Story, Leo McCarey filmed the similar but soapier Make Way for Tomorrow. Like Tokyo Story, McCarey’s movie is about the generational divide between a struggling but devoted older couple and their ungrateful children, now grown up with families of their own. Given a rare shot at starring roles, character actors Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi play Pa and Ma Cooper, married for 50 years and evicted from their family home. None of their kids will take them both, and separated for the first time in decades, the emotionally restrained couple is surprised at the feelings that bubble up. The writing in Make Way for Tomorrow is hardly subtle, but there’s a soulful elegance to the visuals, especially in the lyrical final third where the Coopers return to their honeymoon hotel.