Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

I can't call myself a fan since I have seen only four of his movies, but it doesn't take a genius to acknowledge that Hayao Miyazaki is a genius. He doesn't simply make movies, he makes art while addressing some important themes. Howl's Moving Castle is no different than his other movies.

The film follows Sophie (Chieko Baisho), a sweet but unconfident young woman who is cursed by the Witch of the Waste (Akihiro Miwa) and transformed into an old lady. Unable to continue living her life, she sets out to find Howl (Takuya Kimura), the handsome and narcissistic wizard who is her only chance of breaking the spell.

Adapted from a British children's book by Dianne Wynne Jones, the story is a little confusing (I haven't read the novel but I guess it's because some parts were left out) but nevertheless, it's charming, entertaining and appealing from start to finish. Also, the pace is wonderful, making the story always exciting and rather suspenseful. 

However, the way the story unfolds isn't the reason why Howl's Moving Castle is so engaging. That would be because of its important themes and messages. First of all, this film deals with freedom while addressing the issues of war and the havoc and cruelty of it.  

Second, it deals with old age and shows the importance of it. At the beginning of the film, before being cursed, Sophie is shy and submissive which prevents her from having her own life. Once she is transformed into the old lady, she stops whining, she becomes brave and capable of giving orders to others while still keeping her kindness and heart. And it's with the old age that Sophie learns to understand and love her inner beauty, that she becomes more confident.

Studio Ghibli
The film is also filled with wonderful characters, each with his/her own personality. They are a bit shallow and not so developed but they are charming. Among them, the one standing out is Calcifer, a fire demon. The scarecrow is pretty awesome too. 

At last but not least there's the animation. Like every other Studio Ghibli movie I've seen, Howl's Moving Castle is visually stunning. The colours are bright and vibrant. The settings, landscapes and the characters are all impressive. And the attention to detail is great as usual. 


  1. You're doing better than me, I've only seen 2 of his movies! I loved them both so much though, and I need to add Howl's Moving Castle to my watchlist asap :)

  2. E' stato il primo film Ghibli che ho visto.
    Ne ho piacevoli ricordi!