A high-school girl named Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time, and decides to use it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as she is her own.
Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.
This is probably my favorite animated film of all -- and now it looks even more beautiful than ever (thanks to the Japnese DVD release). This is a story of a 20-something "office lady" who is vaguely dissatisfied with what she sees as increasingly pointless life in the big city. As she visits the rural family of her sister's husband for a working vacation, she also revisits her fifth grade self. (The contemporary scenes are done in a fairly realistic fashion, the flashbacks have a lovely pastel look -- that would later be used even more extensively in "Our Neighbors, the Yamadas"). This film does not draw upon cartoons for its background, but on the films of Ozu and Naruse. The intelligence and sublety of the characterization is extraordinary. This also has a very appealing use of Hungarian folk music (the favored music of our heroine's young farmer friend). If you've never before sobbed tears of joy over closing credits before, you will here. (It never fails for me -- at about 7 times and counting). While Takahata's "Grave of the Fireflies" may have a more timely (and harrowing) tale to tell, I think this understated little story is even more beautiful and effective.
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