Its been a week since I've seen this movie and it still haunts me. In its way its one of the finest animated films I've seen. Its not perfect and I'm not certain that its for everyone but for those who it clicks with will find that they have found a new friend.
The story is told mostly in flashback.It concerns the summer when two boyhood friends were just about to be separated. As they prepare to be apart for the first time they find their lives are changing rapidly. Added into the mix are flights of fantasy, perhaps, as first one and then both boys are pulled into a strange world.
What exactly transpires isn't wholly clear, which is fine, since this is essentially the memories of one of the adults of that magic summer. What happens, fantastic or not is simply reported as real, and we are forced to sort out if its real or not. Memory plays tricks and we don't remember everything, or even always correctly. You could say that how one sees the film marks what sort of person you are.
This is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. There is a quality to the films images that has rarely been equaled in animated film. Several times the sheer beauty of what I was seeing brought me to tears.
The best part of the film is how it makes you feel like a child. Things transpire and you FEEL what its like to be a child. This is not an intellectual knowing that this is what its like to be a child, rather the film physically makes you FEEL what its like. I can't explain it other than to say its pure magic. I've seen literally tens of thousands of films and I've never felt like this ever.
Perhaps the only downside to the film is the odd nature of the telling. As I said things are not always instantly clear with what's happening. This is particularly noticeable at the start of the film where are characters are adults and they speak rather obliquely about whats going on. There is also several moments in main narrative where things seem a bit odd. While the oddness passes there is a lingering feeling, oh so very very minor, that something is amiss.
But the flaws are minor quibbles. This is one of the great animated films and proof that not all the best animation is coming from America or Japan. If you get the chance see this movie. There is something very special about it.
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