“Whisper of the Heart:” A Charming Summer Movie To Watch

Here’s a look into one of Studio Ghibli’s lesser-known works.


Anastasia Gobot

Young love and self-growth are beautifully weaved together into this coming-of-age movie. It revolves around a simple story that nevertheless feels magical. You can watch it now on HBO Max.

Anastasia Gobot, Staff Writer

Compared to “Spirited Away,” “Howl’s Moving Castle,” and “My Neighbor Totoro,” this film doesn’t receive as much attention as it deserves. Director Yoshifumi Kondō’s “Whisper of the Heart” is just as stunningly crafted as its siblings and is still marked by Studio Ghibli’s touch of magic.

The film follows Shizuku (Brittany Snow), a young bookworm that lacks confidence in her writing abilities. She meets Seiji (David Gallagher), a determined boy that wishes to be a professional violin maker, who inspires her to challenge herself and take her first steps into becoming a talented writer.

Knowing that the movie mainly follows Shizuku throughout the story, it feels like the film should be simple enough. But it’s not. Her immaturity and the inclusion of small details like background noises in nature, the chatter of students in a classroom, or romantic subplots contribute to making the story feel raw.

The colorful, bright palette used in addition to the fun, nostalgic background songs and Shizuku’s wild imagination and adventures help create a feeling of youthfulness. This feeling stays the same even later on in the story when both Shizuku and Seiji mature a little more in their goals, confidence, and abilities. “Whisper of the Heart” does an excellent job of portraying growth within its still very immature characters.

Each scene is beautifully painted and detailed, each in a different perspective than the last, no matter how trivial. It makes you feel that you are in the actual film, adding to that youthful aspect mentioned above. This youthfulness is actually what makes it a great summer movie. Summer is the transitional period between school years. “Whisper of the Heart” puts into perspective how fast we grow up without throwing away or discouraging the ideals we may have, even if they are childish.

Anyone of any age can enjoy this film in one way or another. It may inspire you to keep pursuing and cultivating your talents or begin because it’s never too late.