From Up On Poppy Hill (2013) movie review

(Warning: Minor spoiler)

Are we really already at the point of controversial film topics that we’re introducing children to the idea of incest?

While sat in the cinema, my friend and I saw the trailer for the new film about Princess Diana; my friend asked me “Isn’t that a little too controversial?”, to which I simply replied, “People like controversial”. After then seeing the new Ghibli feature, I felt it was only necessary to turn and say, “See, people like controversial”.

For those who haven’t yet seen it, the plot is around two (adorable) school students in the 60’s who find themselves in a romance for each other, but hold back on acting on their feelings due to the possibility they are twins, separated at birth.
Personally, I think this is a great subject for a film. We’re in the age where bestiality is considered okay in the world of the inter-webs via kinks for ‘furries’; I think it’s a little odd that the subject of incest is still too taboo to mention.

Being a simple rating of U, of course the (adorable) couple were not going to turn out related. I can only imagine how people would have reacted if they had! I would have loved to have seen the expressions and thoughts of the parents, who brought their children aged somewhere around 8-10, sat in the isle ahead of me.

The feature itself I found rather enjoyable; a simple (and adorable) budding romance between two school students; a team plan that encourages the viewers that, when they put their mind to it, they can achieve their goals; awkward, hilarious friends who constantly debate over topics no one but them care about; beautiful animation. It’s simple and has you rooting for everything to work out – easy, light entertainment* that I would gladly watch again on a day when I need cheering up or a cute story – much like Whisper of the Heart (1995).

My only bother with this film was the animation style. While I absolutely loved both the styles used for the characters and backgrounds, I felt they were bad to use together as it brings your attention to the characters outline more, reminding you you’re watching a film. Personally, I don’t like this as I feel that films and books should pull you in to make you feel like you’re part of their life – their events are your events. I had the same view for Arrietty (2010); I hope this isn’t something Ghibli decide to keep for all their future feature-length films.

I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Studio Ghibli, enjoys controversial subjects, or needs cheering up.


*By ‘light entertainment’, I mean it entertains you without the viewer having to think too much about what they’re seeing, rather than “It’s vaguely entertaining”

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