The movie follows a 4-year old boy who is struggling to cope with the arrival of a little sister in the family, until things turn magical. A mysterious garden in the backyard of the boy's home becomes a gateway allowing the child to travel back in time and encounter his mother as a little girl and his great-grandfather as a young man. These fantasy-filled adventures allow the child to change his perspective and help him become the big brother he was meant to be.Written by
The first Japanese animated feature to have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. See more »
This is your baby sister, Kun.
Isn't she precious?
[gasping in amazement]
[pokes his finger against her delicate hand]
You have to be gentle with her.
[gently takes hold of the baby's hand; she opens her eyes]
She's awake. I think she's staring at you, Kun.
Come on, her eyes can't even focus yet.
Well she sure looks like she's staring to me.
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Uneven, but with some really great flashes of brilliance
Mirai is the story of Kun, the eldest child of a pair of young professionals. He, at the start of the movie, ends up becoming a big brother. The new addition to the household of course creates some new tensions, and the way Kun ends up dealing with the divided attention of his parents is by travelling through time to meet his family members in different points in time. Like you do.
Mamoru Hosoda, the director, is a real up-and-coming name in the anime industry, with some true gems under his name. Wolf Children and Summer Wars to name a few. His second to last film, The Boy and the Beast, did not impress me all that much, but fortunately Mirai is a slight uptick from that. And I've always liked his animation style, and I still do. The almost too simplistic character designs set against elaborate backgrounds are a joy to watch and there's a really great sense of movement in everything he does.
I like the idea of Mirai, on paper. A young boy, settled with new responsibilities, turns to make-belief and fantasy in order to grow as a human being and as a big brother. Unfortunately the focus of the film is on his temper tantrums and his difficulties in accepting that he is not the sole focus of his parents' love. The problem with that being that almost the entirety of the film is him acting like a total brat. And it's hard to get behind a character like that. This film sorely needs a bit more sugar to make the medicine go down, if you know what I mean.
I would also have liked for the movie to confirm that he is in fact imagining all these things. Now it's a weird "is it or is it not" that pleases no one.
Then again, some of the individual segments are really great. I especially liked the bit about his great-grandfather with its post-war aesthetics and its focus on looking ahead and not giving up no matter what the circumstances.
Is it the best movie Mamoru Hosoda has ever done? No, not by a long shot, but it's still a very well animated movie with some truly inspired pieces. The main character is a bit hard to swallow, but then again he's a four-year-old boy. None of them are angels to begin with.
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