The Boy and the Heron movie still
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124 min.
Release Date
The Boy and the Heron poster

Returning to feature-length animation after a supposed retirement, Japan’s premier animator, Hayao Miyazaki, demonstrates why he’s an absolute original with his new film, The Boy and the Heron. It’s another transportive wonder, filled with imaginative ideas and bizarre characters who sometimes defy understanding. He contains them within a circuitous narrative that takes its young hero into a fantasy realm, where the story continues down a labyrinthine path before doubling over on itself. “My, a lot of strange things happen in this place,” observes a character. “So many things.” That’s true enough; the film is loaded with bizarre creatures and astonishing magic. The dreamier surroundings mark a return to storybook escapism after his last picture, The Wind Rises (2014), a rather grounded story steeped in Miyazaki’s interest in aeronautics, Japanese history, and early life around his father’s airplane parts company. The Boy and the Heron follows the tradition of the filmmaker’s most celebrated works, journeying into another world where entrenched themes of self-discovery materialize. That he combines his searching narratives with such creativity and vision is what makes Miyazaki’s films exceptional.

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