An underrated Ghibli triumph where the fantastical has been replaced by a sense of humane social realism. Its depiction of memory and its nature to reform the present resounds. There are echoes of Ozu in its representation of Japanese domesticity but with a progressive feminist undercurrent. A nourishing piece of the Ghibli pie alongside 'Whisper of the Heart'.
Half of a great movie, this seems built to perfectly teeter between present and nostalgia, before it gets a little carried away with the benefits of organic farming practices... The problem is that the two streams never coalesce, and this is a problem with the growing pains segments being vastly superior. Still, sublime slice of life details, gorgeous animation, especially the still backdrop and whited-out edges.
“I’ve become skeptical of the unwritten rule that just because a boy and girl appear in the same feature, a romance must ensue. Rather, I want to portray a slightly different relationship, one where the two mutually inspire each other to live.” (Hint: not a Takahata quote) Weren't her initial motives enough? They seemed enough. . . .
Some of the nostalgic elements, relying on a simple dichotomy of disappointment and joy, seem too shallow for a film that focuses on the hindsight of a 27-year-old. With that said, the animated work is simply exquisite and I was particularly fond of the way the frames often fade at the edges, much like the dreams Isao Takahata explores. This film could have easily been made in 2016.