Friday, November 7, 2008

Review | Movie | Whisper Of The Heart

WHISPER OF THE HEART : Shizuku Tsukishima is a junior high
school student who loves to read and write, and through reading her library
books' check-out cards, she discovers all of her books have been checked out by
a boy named Seiji Amasawa. Shizuku becomes curious to what Seiji Amasawa is like, only to find out that he is a rude stranger she found reading her book and
later insults her lyrics. As Shizuku and Seiji begin to learn more about
each other, Seiji's dreams of playing the violin helps inspire Shizuku to unlock
her dream of becoming a writer.

Another Studio Ghibli creation? How can this be? That was all it took to rope me into this film.

Shizuku Tsukishima lives the simple life; she goes to school and hangs out with her friends. This is a life she is only able to escape through her fantasy stories she checks out from the library. After dropping a book at her school, she runs to retrieve it and finds that a boy is sitting on the bench reading the book. The boy gladly gives it back, but also gladly refers to Shizuku's lyrics, which she used to mark her book, as "cornier than the original". This is enough to ruin Shizuku's day.

Computerized check-outs are beginning to come into play, which Shizuku comments that she likes the check-out cards better. Maybe because this way, she has finally cracked a pattern in every book she's ever checked out: They've all been previously read by a mysterious boy named Seiji Amasawa, whom no one at her school seems to know. It couldn't possibly be the jerk that made fun of her song. Could it?

Even though this movie is for anyone who wants an anime film that doesn't boast fantasy, I noticed that the plot of this movie didn't pick up as quickly as it could have. At least a good hour of the movie is focused on Shizuku's general life outside of her search for her mystery man, and while a slice of life is always good, a whole cake is not. There were several points in the movie that did not serve the plot at all, but were given too much focus anyway.

I also found the frequent use of the song, "Take Me Home, Country Roads" slightly odd for a Japanese anime. I would never have imagined John Denver, especially singing about West Virginia, had made such an impact on Tokyo, Japan. Random? Very. Bad choice? Rather.

The simplicity of this movie occasionally topped with fantasy scenes depicting Shizuku's stories make this film a little easier to watch, but not to the point where it should be defined as a fantasy film.

This film will be okay to present to the kids, but it is a 2-hour film and is sometimes very slowly paced. I think the only bit of enchantment a child could get from this film is fat neighborhood cat Moon (Muta) that leads Shizuku across town to a mysterious antique shop where she meets and befriends Mr. Nishi, a kind old man with a heart for antiques. In case it may be important for me to note for some, there is five seconds of a bra towards the middle the movie.

Whisper of the Heart is a good film to add to your Studio Ghibli collection. Probably not so much to your Hayao Miyazaki one.

Overall Rating:
/ 5

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