The Boy and the Heron 2023 DUAL 1080p WEB-DL DD5.1 x264

moviePG-13June 25, 2024
While the Second World War rages, the teenage Mahito, haunted by his mother's tragic death, is relocated from Tokyo to the serene rural home of his new stepmother Natsuko, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the boy's mother. As he tries to adjust, this strange new world grows even stranger following the appearance of a persistent gray heron, who perplexes and bedevils Mahito, dubbing him the "long-awaited one."
IMDb Rating
2h 4min
Top Review

Not his best, but a very solid fairy tale from the master with lots of his trademark elements like stoic characters, spirit worlds, flying scenes and characters running through narrow passages. It is stylistically comparable to Spirited Away and Howls Moving Castle, although a bit less epic in scope. Like those films it inhibits a certain darkness and maturity at times with a war as a backdrop, that is not really aimed at children. I personally liked it and wished that more filmmakers in animation would have similar aspirations, but I guess those who do are expelled to do short movies. But back to Miyazaki's movie: it is bursting with lots of ideas, symbolism and fairy tale motifs like Snow White (with a dead mother, seven dwarfettes and a glass coffin with a sleeping beauty). At other times the character dynamics invoke Jim Henson's Labyrinth, where the protagonist has to rescue a kidnapped loved one and work with a henchman who sells him out at every opportunity until they start bonding. All the visual ideas are great but sometimes they can unnecessary bloat the picture. It is one of Miyazaki weaknesses to be over-indulgent and unfocused at times, sometimes he needs to tighten the story in certain places - especially during the last stretch it can feel exhausting. I still like the leisurely pace in the beginning and that the movie takes it's time to slowly pull us into another world/afterlife/beforelife however you want to call this place. There are beautiful visual metaphors like when the little balloon creatures fly off into the next world, one can say that those symbolize the protagonists own emotions bubbling up into the surface (this is also the first sequence where we see the main character smile and express genuine emitions) - and that he tries to repress those feelings. Especially towards his new stepmom which he tries to rescue seemingly out of pure obligation for his father. It is also no coincidence that we witness the appearance of an avatar of his real mother in that very same sequence - she tries to protect those cute balloons from hungry predators, but in the process burns most of them. The clinging to the ghost from the past is preventing a new blossoming/beginning. There simply aren't easy and clean-cut solutions, neither in nature nor our society. There are certain moments where someone can get the impression that Miyazaki is making a statement towards his own legacy and the studio he helped to build. There are themes of responsibility & duty versus family sharing a lot of similarities to his last movie 'The Wind Rises' . I appreciated the ending, without getting into any spoiler territory, a lot of people wondered or were baffled why the final scene feels sort of "tacked on". But when you closely observe it, it is sound with the movie's themes and illustrates rather well the important choice of our main character.

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Cast Overview
  • Soma Santoki
  • Masaki Suda
  • Kô Shibasaki
File Size
2.0 GB
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