It’s been quite a while since the last time I wrote a film review, been busy. I miss the unlimited adjectives doing that! But there are just some particular films that are just too good to pass without sharing them to other people. One of those films is “Whisper of the Heart”, a 1995 film from Studio Ghibli. The great Hayao Miyazaki did not direct this one but he wrote the screenplay so, yes, you can put your expectations high. And it won’t disappoint as the guys from Ghibli especially Yoshifumi Kondō, the director, delivered the goods in an unexpected intimate and deeply personal display of storytelling.
The story is about the bookworm high school student named Shizuku who met an annoying boy who is so passionate on
annoying her and making violins. Soon Shizuko finds herself in a thrill ride in discovering first love and the gem inside all of us. It is a heart-warming narrative about love, friendship, family and the soul searching power of being young and care-free.
The movie was made about seventeen years ago, but I’m so amazed how relevant the story even to this generation. It’s a high school love story that did hit some nerves on the ‘kilig’ department. It has some great moments that will make Mario Maurer’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love even sillier. Oh, I remembered how it actually felt to have a high school crush and the thrills that goes with it. The scenes were just spot on. I think many people can relate to the characters in the love element of the story
But the main element of the story is about finding one’s dreams and having the courage to pursue them. It’s an inspirational story for the kids to see. Personally, when I was the age of the young characters I’m pretty much clueless as to what I wanted to do with my life. Yes the talents and the potentials were there but the confidence was non-existence. I believe one of the most critical things that could happen to a teenager is finding that dream, that passion, that thing you wanted to do the rest of your life. Trust me, you don’t want to be pursue your parents other people’s dreams. Hayao Miyazaki’s fine screenplay pinpointed those with accuracy and manages to transform those ideas into a metaphor of a rock crystal; unpolished, dull and ordinary but deep inside is a precious gem just waiting to be discovered.
The animation was simply breathtaking (didn’t I use that adjective on the Arriety review?). The story practically deviates from the Ghibli tradition of high fantasies during the 90’s but it doesn’t mean we don’t get to see the beautiful concept designs that captures the feeling of what it is to live in Tokyo during that period. If you like what you’ve seen in Arriety then you’ll surely love the presentation. It’s a feast to the eyes!
Whisper of the Heart is such an intimate story to enjoy for the young people but also for the mature ones and see how much we’ve grown in life looking back at all those precious moments in our teenage years. It defies the age bracket of audience because people no matter how old or how young can find their selves, in one way or the other, in the characters inside the story. It’s almost completely devoid of all those magical items Studio Ghibli is so known for but it sure got the DNA of a coming of age story with lots of lessons to get by. And the kilig meter ran absolutely ran high, haha, I sport a pretty big smile down to the last scene.