Fantasy comedy about young Ronal who lives in a barbarian village. Ronal is weak, skinny and doesn't have the usual barbarian traits like everyone else and therefore is considered a ... See full summary »
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From up on Poppy Hill is a deserving addition to the Ghibli library. It's sweet, small and relatable. The manga-based script is written by Hayao Miyazaki himself, while his son Goro is directing this time.
Poppy Hill is slightly different from the more known Ghibli films in the fact that it takes place completely in the real world and there's not even the slightest hint of anything supernatural. It makes it a different kind of film, so I would recommend placing your expectations outside the Totoro/Ponyo/Spirited Away territory.
Once you settle into the setting, the movie offers a good time: the characters are colourful (especially the philosophy guy, he was hilarious!) and relatable and the simplicity and down to earth feel of the story prevents the film from getting out of hand. The romance doesn't feel forced in any way and there are many heartwarming moments. By the end I was just smiling and left the theater with a warm feel inside.
The movie has some issues that keep it outside of greatness status. The animation isn't bad, but certainly not the level we've come to expect (this might be partly because the film was in production when the 2011 tsunami hit, so it's understandable). The story takes a while to get going, and also I found the music almost interrupting at times. I wonder how the sound mixing went because at times the music felt almost too loud.
But in the end Poppy Hill is a very enjoyable film. It takes a while to get going, but it gives it the advantage of getting better and better as it progresses.
Recommendation: For Ghibli fans and newcomers alike From up on Poppy Hill offers a heartwarming feel-good film that will bring a smile to your face. Definitely worth seeing
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