Saturday, March 26, 2016
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
The story itself is not so unusual. Boy likes girl, but she of course likes another boy. And her best friend likes the boy who likes her. That is often the way it goes, even after adolescence.
In this version of the story, which is set in a Japanese city, the film greets us with a montage of urban life after the sun has faded and the lights have just flickered on providing the glow that can make night life possible. It’s that period when responsibilities have mostly ended with the promise of things possible wafting through the summer air. Ironically, the Olivia Newton-John version of the song “Country Roads” is used as a backdrop for the city scape and pervades the movie.
Eventually we follow a girl leaving a market and accompany her home to a small family apartment. Shizuku is enjoying her summer break by burying herself in books. But a mystery arises for the middle school student when a name on the checkout card of a book she’s reading seems vaguely familiar. Sure enough, the same name appears on all the books she’s checked out from the library: Seiji Amasawa. She goes on to become enamored with a boy with the same last name (and the same family), who is a talented boy. They have to make choices that will seem all too familiar, but are well executed.