So as some of you know, I have a "tendency" to fall asleep and/or doze off while watching films anytime after 2pm. It's kind of my fault - I often times put in a movie just so I can fall asleep. Anyway, as Jason suggested this movie, he also gave me a warning that I needed to be well-rested and not watch it in the late afternoon or evening. Basically, this movie is really really slow.
Here's the deal though: "Tokyo Story" was almost refreshingly slow. It felt like it was paced for real life, and the characters were able to develop quite differently than in other movies. It seems to me (and I'm no film student) that characters in a modern movie are generally developed through nuance or dialog specifically aimed at developing a character. "Tokyo Story" seemed different to me. It seemed that the characters were developed throughout the film as events unfolded. It wasn't that the characters changed, it was just that you knew more about the individual characters based on how they reacted in a particular instance.
As slow as the movie was, and it was slooowwww, it's pace was necessarily slow to give the character development needed to unfold the very human and tragic story it told. None of the characters were caricatures (as in many films), and yet the real humanity of the children showed how rotten and selfish most of us really are, and how much it sucks to get old and rely on others.
On a personal note, I'm only 32 and I know what it's like to stay in a hotel that is catering to a demographic years younger than you are. My wife and I stayed in a hostel in Munich, Germany, and the noise went on all night long. It was so bad I got up in the middle of the night and started pounding on doors to shut people up (to no avail). I very much felt what our film's patriarch felt at the spa.
comments by Andy