Stu­dio Ghilbli’s sweet say­onara

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 2014 | U | Blu-ray & dvd (dou­ble-play)/ dvd Di­rec­tor Hiro­masa Yonebayashi Cast Hailee ste­in­feld, Kier­nan shipka, Geena davis, Kathy Bates

Stu­dio Ghi­bli’s fi­nal film is com­fort­ingly Ghi­bli in some re­spects and yet some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent as well. It’s a re­turn to the stu­dio’s sig­na­ture lush an­i­ma­tion style and also a re­turn to English chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture for in­spi­ra­tion (in this case a 1967 book by Joan Robin­son).

But the sto­ry­telling here is some­thing ex­cit­ingly fresh and new for the stu­dio. A com­ing-ofage tale for a de­pressed girl, Anna, it may start in clas­sic fashion – with an or­phan child packed off to rel­a­tives in the coun­try – but, shock­ingly, her rel­a­tives are re­ally lovely. It’s Anna’s own de­pres­sion that causes the fric­tion. Un­til she be­friends a mys­te­ri­ous girl...

It’s sweet, it’s beau­ti­ful and it’s proof that Ghi­bli was pre­pared to push bound­aries un­til the end. We’re gonna miss you.

Ex­tras An op­tion to watch the en­tire film in sto­ry­boards; an English fea­turette in­ter­view­ing the Western voice cast (12 min­utes); a Mak­ing Of (42 min­utes); an odd fea­turette about an art show (17 min­utes); trail­ers. Dave Golder

The orig­i­nal book was in­spired by Nor­folk vil­lage Burn­ham Overy. The au­thor is buried in the church­yard there.

The one in the mid­dle is a bit skinny.

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