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4.7 out of 5 stars116
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 September 2013
This is about as far from an action film as you can get. However, there are plenty of other productions which will give you as much action and fantasy as you want, whereas a story which simply portrays the lives of ordinary Japanese people with such charm and sensitivity is quite rare, and few do it better than Ghibli.
The plot centres around the activities of various young people, and their attempts to prevent their old clubhouse from being demolished to make way for a new one. The children are perceptively observed and inhabit a rich environment of beautiful artwork with marvellous attention to detail. There is considerable humour in this story, and some fascinating observations of ordinary Japanese culture. Do they really keep vegetables under the floorboards? The screenplay and direction is gentle and sympathetic and the apparently unremarkable story is raised out of the mundane by good dialogue and believable characters, whilst a romantic relationship with a twist develops between the two main protagonists.
Needless to say, this charming film is quite suitable for all ages. Studio Ghibli has done it again.
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on 4 August 2013
Ever since watching Tales From Earthsea, it must be said I was rather put back knowing Goro Miyazaki would be directing once again. The film however, was as charming and magical as all the other Ghibli films.
The film's main storyline is about how someone is answering a young girl's signal flags of which she raises everyday outside her boarding house.

At first it seems to be a straightforward boy-meets-girl scenario, but it definitely is not the case. There's a surprising amount of twists and bumps along the way, of which left me wide open of thought afterwards. The movie overall was adorable, I thought the music was outstanding and Aoi Teshima's gorgeous voice of whom sang Therru's song in Tales from Earthsea returns. The use of Sukiyaki, the only Japanese song to reach #1 in America, I thought was a nice touch too. The animation is what you expect from Ghibli, lovely hand drawn animation that goes to show that CGI hasn't killed it off just yet. I just hope we receive a Blu-ray version of the DVD to do the movie justice.

Overall, once again Studio Ghibli produces an unorthodox movie in the romance genre, proving that film makers do not have to follow the traditional formula to make a good film. It seems the future of Ghibli is in good hands after all.

**EDIT** September 1st, Hayao Miyazaki announces his retirement, it seems the gauntlet has officially been passed onto his son and Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Director of Arrietty), though now we can finally sigh in relief!
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on 17 January 2014
This movie takes a very different road to what you would normally expect in the Ghibli Genre, especially under the Miyazaki's influence which usually include elements of magic, but despite being a slice of life the story is heartwarming with the right amount of unnerving moments to keep your heartbeat going. Brilliant film and highly reccomended, its comes in a box-like case as well which is unique.
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on 29 April 2015
What a wonderful, healing movie. I agree with so many of the reviews here. What can I usefully add.. The music and songs are great (and may stick inside your head) and span many styles of Japanese music. I found it worth watching both English dubbed and subtitled Japanese versions, as the dubbed version is Americanized not only in language but in its characterization of the people (like: much more aggressive than the Japanese version); AND the two versions (dub/s.title) give a much fuller account of the Japanese original when combined. Finally, I love the detail of the animation, like: the way the mother closes her eyes briefly as she gets up before comforting her daughter; there's plenty of examples like this, and spotting them is entertaining as well as engrossing. I highly recommend this movie; it's one of the very best Ghibli movies, imo, if you are not looking for fantasy action animation. I have watched it many times.

PS, photo is for Hecate, who wondered in her review whether Japanese really store vegetables in the floor.
review image
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on 5 November 2013
I took my daughter to see this film at a local cinema as she likes Japanese anime and I must say that even as an adult it was highly impressive so I bought the disk for the rest of the family.
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on 21 November 2013
I borrowed this dvd from the lirbray and fell in love with it, the scenery is breathtaking and I love the songs the breakfast one makes me feel hungry lol and the song when they are on the bike is so beautiful! I bought it for my ghibli collection ordered it Sunday evening came on Wednesday morning :D
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on 5 November 2013
I am a huge Miyazaki fan and having father and son work together on making a film is wonderful. This story of two young people being drawn together is sweet, cute and at the same time real. I is not action packed like Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, etc. but I liked it, hopefully you will to!
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on 16 September 2013
A much better effort from Goro, five years after Tales from Earthsea. I won't detail the plot, as others will do so in a comprehensive manner!

Of course spectacularly animated, this is a genuinely charming and splendid film with plenty of lovely and moving moments. As another reviewer has stated, this isn't a simple boy-meets-girl film - just as Whisper of the Heart isn't simply boy-meets-girl. It is along those lines, that is a lighter film rather than a heavier film like Mononoke or Nausicaa, but it offers a well-paced plot, characters you actually root for and enjoy, and brilliant Studio Ghibli humour.

Goro has expressed his reluctance to follow his father's footsteps (and who can blame him considering the outstanding quality of Hayao's films!), but he has really pulled through with From Up On Poppy Hill and it is a Ghibli I would certainly watch again. Definitely an improvement from his last film, so give it a go!
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on 22 March 2014
I recently got this title to add to my studio Ghibli collection as we are huge fans. Earth Sea, by Goro Miyasaki, took a while to grow on me - but I now opt to see it often for its interesting story line, marvellously drawn witch and beautiful dragon. Poppy Hill was utterly different, both in its setting and music. However, the graphics were up to the usual Ghibli standard and the music was utterly delightful, being a mixture of jazz in parts and lyrical piano in the Joe Hisayshi vein elsewhere.
From a western perspective the joy is in the little details of homelike, food and school activities in 1960s Japan at the time of the Tokyo Olympics. A gentle film with a reassuring message of youngsters striving to maintain their traditions and heritage. Though it is not in the Ghibli fantasy genre, I would highly recommend buying the blue ray version as it also comes with extras including a marvellous comparative view of old and new Yokohama. I am now about to buy the marvellous soundtrack!
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on 31 December 2013
This was a rather enjoyable movie to watch, of course you'd expect no less from Studio Ghibli.

However, I found it slightly disappointing. While the story to a degree was heart warming the actual solidity of the story line fell a little bit flat. The main storyline being the growing relationship between the two primary characters Umi and Shun finished rather inconclusively whereas the secondary storyline on the saving of the Club house seemed to outshine what had intended to be the primary plot line.

I personally found the English dub slightly off putting and about a quarter of the way through I had ended up switching it to the original Japanese dub with English subtitles.

But aside from all of that the movie had been beautiful and rather enjoyable. I can't say much due to how easy it is to spoil the ending for many but I would whole-heartedly suggest buying the film and deciding for yourself on whether this lives up to the Studio Ghibli name.
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