This captivating drama exists on another level: the devastating ending left me sobbing.
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It succumbs to evasiveness and sentimentality at the end, but this does not extinguish the memory of the many funny, touching, and captivatingly odd scenes that have come before.
A gorgeously rendered and deeply personal portrayal of a young woman’s life in the part of the world where history’s greatest conflict reached a devastating conclusion.
For an American/international audience, perhaps the most important contribution provided by In This Corner of the World is one of perspective.
This impressionistic chronicle of the war is, at first, more concerned with household chores and family matters than it is with soldiers on the battlefield, but its harrowing third act reveals what can happen when civilians become targets as well.
Adapting Fumiyo Kono’s 2007 manga of the same title, director Sunao Katabuchi captures the manifold experiences of a housewife during WWII with beguiling intimacy and appealing hand-drawn illustration.
Confronting the horrors of history head-on can make for cinema that’s impossible to shake, but Katabuchi’s painterly, introspective film proves a sideways approach can be just as indelible.
It’s a reminder that making pretty pictures out of painful history is just a tentative step toward actually grappling with that history, no matter how hard politicians and revisionists fight to keep that from happening.
This is a beautiful, heart-swelling animated movie, to be certain, but it’s also one that knows that such picturesque sights and pleasant sensations are only part of the equation.