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The Boy and the Heron Film Review: Don’t run away. Get on with your life

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Chinese Film Name:ni xiang huo chu zen yang de ren sheng; English Film Name: 君たちはどう生きるか,The Boy and the Heron


《The Boy and the Heron》 is perhaps not the kind of consistently well-defined, smoothly paced, one-shot Miyazaki work that fans have come to expect.

Instead, we see so many unspeakably weird episodes off and on, before and after, that after watching it, it’s hard not to feel like it’s not Miyazaki’s best work.

Is a film a good work when you need to go to a commentary to assist you after you’ve watched it? I can’t fully agree with this point.

Because we all have limited perceptions, and often it’s not the work that’s bad, it’s the fact that we haven’t seen it yet. If we can let go of our ego and give the work more chances, perhaps this kind of film narration can really help us expand our horizons and bring us to a higher level of understanding.

Hayao Miyazaki’s 《The Boy and the Heron》 is a clear example of a story that is absolutely full of questions after watching it – what exactly is the theme of the story? There are many questions in mind.

The hero inadvertently found his mother to give the future of his own book 《The Boy and the Heron》, I inexplicably touched my heart, that is his mother across time and space, a conversation with him, is a transmission of love.
It was a conversation between his mother and him across time and space, a transmission of love.

So 《The Boy and the Heron》 can be viewed from this perspective, it can be seen as Miyazaki Hayao’s memories, summary and reflection on his own life.

It feels like a love letter to himself, with many expressions of his inner self.

Through his work, he speaks of his perception of the world, its construction (he created his own Miyazaki anime world), its destruction (everything is like a dream) and its rebirth (life and mind still go on).

There are no absolute answers in life, but you are able to choose the life you want to live, just like how Hiromi chose to come back to earth to be the mother of the main character, Makoto, even though she knew that she would later perish in a fire.

The part of the film where the fire starts is very intriguing and grabbed my attention right away. I love the painting style in the artwork, so fine and distinctive, and with the light and non-melodramatic soundtrack by Jean Hisaishi, I think it’s already a literary, elegant and detailed audio-visual feast.

Perhaps the hero, a teenager, can be seen as a mapping of Hayao Miyazaki himself, with his many guardians (the Old Sisters) around him, his fantastical otherworldly worlds, and among them his beloved family (blood relatives), as well as a few confidantes and friends with whom he has empathy (Aoi Heron, Misty Kiriko, etc.).

Miyazaki’s life is wandering between this illusion and reality. In the Miyazaki world he constructed, there is a very powerful force (the anthropomorphism of the film is the so-called uncle) who wants him to become a successor in the other world, but he knows clearly that he is a child who belongs to the real world outside.

It’s our lovely earth, the earth, that is the most precious, so even though they know that the human world is destined to be bitter, the protagonists still choose to go out there, to step out and live a real, tangible and courageous life for once.

The real joy is not in the virtual world, but in the interaction between people, the warmth of humanity and the spirit of mutual assistance. A person who can truly give of himself to help others is most satisfied with his own life.

In today’s generation of mobile phone networks where everyone is immersed in virtual indifference, what kind of life do you want to live? That’s a beautiful and warm reminder that Mr Miyazaki has given to each and every one of us through his film.


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