The Order of Ghiblis #02 - Whisper of the Heart
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Whisper of the Heart (1995)
A young Japanese middle school girl finds that all the books she chooses in the library have been previously checked out by the same boy. Later she meets a very infuriating fellow... could it be her "friend" from the library?
I've always thought of Whisper as 'the Ghibli movie where nothing happens' but not in a bad way! It's a bit of a simplistic take, obviously stuff happens, but it's at such a serene pace that it serves as a good summary. It's an incredibly honest slice of life, following a school girl for nearly 2 hours as she interacts with her family, friends, a boy, and even a band of old men to play a song in a basement. The pace is refreshing, with more time spent on establishing shots of recognisable Japanese rural streets, roads, buses, and shops than many western movies spend on character development in an entire movie.
It really takes you into the life of Shizuku, dealing with family problems, school and budding relationships with classmates, her dreams, and the future, without the need for excessive drama or the more fantastical elements that other Ghibli movies are known for.
Is it better than Arrietty? For us, definitely. Having recently been to Japan (will stop mentioning that eventually) the establishing shots were so accurate, and really take you to the places it is set. The movie is heart warming, honest, and doesn't feel even nearly it's 2 hours in length.
The soundtrack is also great, with multiple versions of Country Roads, and the scene where they all sing it in the workshop basement is amazing, and the animation, as always with Ghibli, is slick and detailed. That being said, I would probably not recommend it as a first Ghibli movie for new fans, as it is a bit of a departure from most of their other stuff.
And with that:
NEW NUMBER ONE ALERT
1.Whisper of the Heart