The story arc is somewhat facile, and its lesson about preserving history instead of demolishing it to make way for new, shiny things is too obvious.
Stream From Up on Poppy Hill
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This movie...is a lovely example of the strong realist tendency in Japanese animation. Its visual magic lies in painterly compositions of foliage, clouds, architecture and water, and its emotional impact comes from the way everyday life is washed in the colors of memory.
It’s a film heavily dependent on tone and atmosphere for its charm, the budding relationship shown through things like a lovely twilight bike ride down a hill to the shops below.
Even with no wood sprites, witches or spells, there’s plenty of magic in this coming-of-age charmer.
From Up on Poppy Hill is frankly stunning, as beautiful a hand-drawn animated feature as you are likely to see. It's a time-machine dream of a not-so-distant past, a sweet and honestly sentimental story that also represents a collaboration between the greatest of Japanese animators and his up-and-coming son.
It’s all lovely and sweet, and while this story might’ve been just as engaging in live action, Miyazaki’s animation does clear away the extraneous detail, re-creating the world of 50 years ago and instilling it with the poignancy of a family snapshot.
It’s a lovely film, a sentimental parable that carefully recreates a post-war Japan obsessed with obliterating its past.
It's the warm tenor of the film that ultimately rescues it.