The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.
Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside, an emotionally distant adolescent girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there - a girl who may or may not be real.
When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.
College student Hana falls in love with another student who turns out to be a werewolf, who dies in an accident after their second child. Hana moves to the rural countryside where her husband grew up to raise her two werewolf children.
Miyazaki replaces fantasy with realism in deeply moving film
From the moment "Up on Poppy Hill" opens, scans its world in photographic panorama, and takes you into an ordinary Japanese kitchen where early-teen Umi is preparing a meal, you sense that this will not be like any Miyazaki film that you have ever seen. Still present is the flawless Studio Ghibli animation, but all traces of fantasy are gone. Instead the film grabs your heartstrings and won't let go. It's a simple enough story, neither harrowing nor heartbreaking, but its telling is so rich and enveloping that you're quickly as close to it as if you were on the back of a careening bicycle with Umi. // Young children will be entertained by the wonderful animation and may have questions to ask about the differences between how Umi lives her daily life in 1963 Japan and how they themselves live. Anyone older than about nine will grasp the full depth of the story and will enter it through its richness and detail. If you are empathetic at all your eyes will be wet from recognition, and, often enough, from joy. See this film and hope for more like it from the new Miyazaki generation. (Note: This review is for the English-dubbed, non-subtitled version that opened in Los Angeles in late March, 2013.)
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