Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. Japan, 2013. Studio Ghibli, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Hakuhodo DY Media Partners, KDDI Corporation, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Nippon Television Network, Toho Company. Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki, based on his comic. Produced by Toshio Suzuki. Music by Joe Hisaishi. Production Design by Yoji Takeshige. Academy Awards 2013. Boston Film Critics Awards 2013. Golden Globe Awards 2013. National Board of Review Awards 2013. New York Film Critics 2013. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2013. Toronto International Film Festival 2013. Washington Film Critics Awards 2013.
Animation becomes poetry as Hayao Miyazaki makes what he has announced as his final film into an ode to dreaming itself. This beautiful romance between both a man and a woman and a boy and his childhood dream tells the true story of Jiro Horikoshi, who adored flight as a child and grew up to design the fighter planes used by Japan in World War II. Accompanied by the fantasy figure of Italian aircraft designer Giovanni Caproni throughout his adolescence and adulthood, Horikoshi is disappointed that his near-sightedness means that he cannot become a pilot, dashing his dreams of taking to the skies. Instead, he works hard in school and gets a job at a major engineering firm, eventually travelling the world and bringing back what he learns to Japan’s outdated and under-budgeted projects. He also meets a consumptive young woman with whom he has a genuinely sweet relationship despite the unavoidable obstacle of her poor health. You can actually smell the summer wind in scenes that feel as delicate and light as air: a filmmaker whose tales have been impressing millions of audience members for years has achieved his most indelible work yet, filling the screen with another man’s rich imagination.