Whisper of the Heart [Blu-ray + DVD]
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WHISPER OF THE HEART inspires like never before in Blu-ray! A new digital master reveals the true brilliance of this heartwarming coming-of-age classic from Studio Ghibli, the studio that brought you PONYO and the Academy Award(R)-winning SPIRITED AWAY (Best Animated Feature Film, 2002). A chance encounter with a mysterious cat sends Shizuku, a quiet schoolgirl, on a quest for her true talent. Challenged by Seiji, a boy determined to follow his dreams, and enchanted by The Baron, a magical cat figurine who helps her listen to the whispers of her heart, Shizuku embarks on curious adventures beyond the boundaries of her imagination. Now in Blu-ray High Definition for the first time ever, this beautiful tale based on the screenplay from legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki will delight and amaze families!
Based on a manga by Aoi Hiiragi, the gentle coming-of-age story Whisper of the Heart (1995) was scripted and storyboarded by Hayao Miyazaki, and directed by the late Yoshifumi Kondo. Shizuku Tsukishima is an absent-minded, insecure junior high school student who reads book after book of fairy tales, helps her friends, and does most of her chores, but remains dissatisfied. When she encounters a wonderfully supercilious cat on the train, she follows him and meets Seiji Amasawa, a student in her class who hopes to become a violin maker. Seiji's commitment to his dream helps Shizuku find her voice, literally and figuratively: she realizes she wants to become a writer. A statue of a cat in the antique store of Seiji's kindly grandfather inspires her first story, "Whisper of the Heart."
Shizuku and Seiji exhibit believable strengths and flaws: their warm humanity contrasts markedly with the shabby superficiality of the characters in many American animated films. The lively performances of Brittany Snow and David Gallagher transcend the geographic limits of the story to make Shizuku and Seiji the kids the viewer wishes lived next door. Miyazaki's script suggests that a sense of magic can exist, even in everyday Tokyo. Whisper of the Heart was the only film Yoshifumi Kondo directed before his untimely death at age 47, but its understated charm stands as a monument to his talent. (Rated G, suitable for ages 10 and older: tobacco use) --Charles Solomon --This text refers to the DVD edition.See all Product Description
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If you are a fan of Studio Ghibli, you'll know that Hayao Miyazaki has directed most of the studio's work. Yoshifumi Kondo directed this time, but Miyazaki wrote the screenplay, and his influence can be felt rather than seen. Whisper of the Heart is set in the real world and only contains the tiniest of fantasy references. It's a coming-of-age tale that just about everyone can identify with. Even if you are not a child, a teen, or a parent, you will remember living through similar moments to those depicted in this story.
Shizuku is a 14-year-old girl who focuses most of her attention on school, reading, and studying. One day, she notices that almost every book she borrows from the library has previously been checked out by Seiji Amasawa. She becomes curious about him, and wonders how someone could have such similar tastes to her own. At school, she's a good student, and goes through the typical things that most young girls experience. She talks to her girlfriends about boys, but writing is her real passion. She impresses her friends by writing song lyrics.
Her life changes when she encounters a cat on the train, and she follows it after it gets off at her stop. It leads her to an antiques store, owned by an old man. The man turns out to be the grandfather of the mysterious Seiji, and the two finally meet.
Although Shizuki studies hard, she has little idea of what she wants to do with her life.Read more ›
Heart doesn't get as much notice as more action oriented Ghibli films like Ponyo or Kiki's Delivery Service or Castle in the Sky because well....., it's not an action oriented film. Rather this film is just a sweet little tale about a girl's coming of age. Simple as that. No violence, no explosions, no car chases, no space aliens; just a young girl coming to grips with her first love.
However, if you think boring; you couldn't be more wrong as a mysterious cat eventually leads her to the boy of her dreams. The first half is rich and diverse as she explores her surroundings while the second half is more introspective as their relationship develops. Ironically, one of the highlights of the movie comes around the mid-point with a neighbourhood jam session to the tunes of "Rocky Road." It's that sort of film.
There's not a great deal of difference on this BD/Combo pak between the Bluray and dvd versions. The BD is crisper and shows more detail which is appreciated as she explores the town. And the dvd's English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks are bumped up a notch to 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks on the bluray. But since this is a film with many introspective moments and quiet dialogue and not the sort of action you'd get in say...., a Ponyo; most of the time you probably won't notice the difference.
It's a fascinating little film though and is perfect if you want a family film with no violence. It would also make a perfect gift for any young girls (or not so young) in the family. It's a little gem that too often gets overlooked by the bigger, badder animated films out there and that's a real pity!
This movie is long, after finishing it, I felt like I had read a great book. It tells a magical story about a young girl who aspires to be a writer, her struggle over family life, friendship, and her dreams. Without giving too much away, I'd say it's about a girl who loves to read, who day dreams over the mysterious person who has somehow signed out every library book before her. On a boring summer day, hoping to find adventure, she decides to follow a cat off the streetcar. The cat leads her to an antique shop, where she meets the owner and makes a new friend who encourages her to write a novel. I will say that this movie is very slow paced, but that's just the style.
Visually, it's modest traditional animation over delicate watercolour backdrops.
Most recent customer reviews
Another classic film by the studio, I really enjoyed itPublished 5 months ago by Wilson Alexander Angulo
I think this is the best of Miyazaki's movies. Such a soulful "coming of age" story...Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer