Thursday, April 16, 2020

Whisper of the Heart

Image credit: IMDb
I first must apologise for my absence, reader(s) whoever you may be. Things have been happening. Enough said. But what has continued to get me through all of the happening things has been the static and wonderful magic of movies!
Honestly, I’ve been revisiting a large amount of my old favourites and a few that I’ve been meaning to reacquaint myself with, but today I was finally in a space where I could take in something new.
That something new was Whisper of the Heart.

A truly gorgeous and inspiring Studio Ghibli film, directed by Yoshifumi Kondo and co-written by Hayao Miyazaki, Whisper of the Heart tells the story of young Shizuku (Brittany Snow), a junior-high graduate trying to find some adventure and direction for her future. She finds it when she discovers a reoccurring name in all the library books that she’s check out, and decides to find out if this person is anything like her. But her quest leads her to something she never imagined, an awakening of her own inner talents and ambition for greatness and love.

I found this movie truly touching. Not only is it a very cute and sedate little love story, it’s also a wonderful coming-of-age tale that explores the struggles and complexities of that gap between childhood and the rest of your life: adolescence. Despite its lack of fantasy and magic that characterises so many other beloved Ghbili classics, Whisper of the Heart proves to be really pure and realistic; the characters are so much more relatable, and this makes the central story all the more inspiring and beautiful because it’s something wondrous that’s within the reach of the everyday.

The script is perfect, a lot of simple dialogue that packs so much meaning into the smallest of sentences, and there are a whole other lot of little stories that get told without the audience even really knowing it. It’s very clever writing, which I thoroughly admired.

Image credit: Ghibli Wiki
And then we have the classic animation. The world presented is very real and tangible, but what gives the film its stylistic Ghibli-magic edge is the fantasy scenes where the art style takes a different tone and becomes more reminiscent of Monet and other beautiful art styles. This blending of styles highlights the film’s central message of the how we can find magic and fantasy in real life. It’s utterly beautiful!

I’m sure that any Ghibli-phile has already had their world made better by this movie, but for those who are just getting in to the films, I would certainly recommend this one. While it’s different and maybe not as signature as My Neighbour Totoro or Spirited Away, it’s truly a gorgeous little film that’s well worth your time.

Director: Yoshifumi Kondo, 1995

Cast (English): Brittany Snow, David Gallagher, James Sikking, Jean Smart, Ashley Tisdale, Harold Gould, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Martin Spanjers, and Carey Elwes

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