One of the most sincere and certainly among the best films in its genre.
Brilliant music, a roller-coaster of emotions, and a bittersweet ending without any semblance of actual closure; what more could you want in an anime?
88/100 - Excellent (4.5)
Gosh, another nice masterpiece from Studio Ghibli and certainly their most heartwarming. I loved how Shizuku met Seiji and how they tried to follow their dreams - sweet, funny, and touching. What's also interesting to me is the main theme (John Denver's tune) being used as both the story's basis & revisioned by Shizuku (gotta love Yuji Nomi's score, too). And both Baron & Muta would return later in THE CAT RETURNS.
It's about as down to earth as Ghibli gets and yet is and incredible picture of the growth of two artists at the very beginning of their journey. I doubt I have seen it portrayed better anywhere else. The film could be faulted for edging into "on-the-nose" territory but in my opinion never goes too far. Would be a great double bill with "The Horse's Mouth".
I'm able to see movies only late at night so I always wait until the next morning to rate a film because each picture deserves respect and a little time to make its way to our mind. For instance, I was ready to rate 2* Whisper of the Heart last night but as my first thought this morning was about it, I changed my rating. Recommended.