Confined in the castle tower by her father, princess Arete spends her days watching the world outside her window. She longs to meet the common people and travel to exotic lands she has only seen in the books she keeps hidden under her bed.
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3-3.5. To be sure, it can spin a metaphor about whatever it wants. But its themes about life, death, and the eternity of time wind up much more fully realized than its theme about gender. It occasionally struggles with smoothly delivering information (like the wizard's rant clarifying the limits of his powers, etc.) but it is a charming fairy tale that even shows shades of Miyazaki's work.
3.5 stars. just watched this and found it strangely meditative. arete's philosophical musings, often out loud to herself, were simultaneously cheesy & ridiculous but also oddly deep & wonderful. i watched it, as i'm a huge fan of miyazaki and thought this film may be in the same world... though it's different... perhaps darker, empty, weirdly existential... through the eyes/heart of a trapped young girl...