First off in starting this, I’d like to thank Madman for the advance copies of the Reel Anime event held in Australia and New Zealand. Details where you can catch this film will follow after the review.
The Garden of Words comes to us produced by Noritaka Kawaguchi and directed by Makoto Shinkai. Makoto has an impressive pedigree being responsible for amazing feature films such as 5 Centimeters Per Second and Children Who Chase Lost Voices just to name a couple. He is also often referred to as “The New Miyazaki”, a reference to Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli fame.
The film takes part in the absolutely lush garden settings of the Japanese Garden in Shinjuku, an impressive garden in the middle of the city much like Central Park in New York. Takao Akizuki is a young 15-year-old still in high school who takes to skipping the morning class everytime it rains. It’s during one of these escapades that he comes across and befriends Yukari Yukino, an older 20 something professional lady who comes to the garden only when it rains. The two soon strike up a friendship sharing food and stories between them. Akizuki reveals that he has a burning passion to design and make shoes, something that we see often with his sketch pad filled with designs and with works in progress at his home.
His home is shared with his older brother and their mother who is never home having a penchant for chasing younger men and also for being known as quite the drama queen. The film revolves around their routine encounters and the friendship they strike however, there is a twist in the story which I won’t spoil here but needless to say, it does have the potential to drastically alter their relationship.
The film is extremely well paced and flows nicely and always leaves you wanting to see more into the meetings and what will happen next. A special mention has to go out to the ridiculously sublime animation throughout the movie as well as the impeccable attention to detail. From the streets and Shinjuku landmarks, to the railways stations with accurate depictions of platform signs and the garden itself. The gorgeous shades of green and amazing clarity in the detail is nothing short of astounding and will leave you breathless, it’s quite stunning. Kudos to the sound department for also conveying the sounds of the city where you can then appreciate the quiet and tranquility that is always present in the garden.
This film needs to be seen anyone who can appreciate a cute movie and for anyone who has ever been left wanting more or feeling like they were a part of something bigger than just themselves. Highly recommend it, it’s long at around 45 minutes but the makers have managed to fit in so much and weave a beautiful and engaging story.
[starreview tpl=16] Absolutely sublime, couldn’t look away and one of the most beautiful movies ever made.