Another fabulous movie by Miyazaki Hayao. From Up on Poppy Hill is primarily about a teenage boy and girl that fall in love while trying to save an old school building. The story takes place in 1963 when Tokyo is preparing for the 1964 Olympics. One of the sub-themes is the conflict between those in the country that want all new buildings and are ready to abandon the past. The other group, of which our protagonists are a part of, desire to keep their history rich and see the benefit to keep what can be saved.
To that end a small group of school kids, which grows rapidly, work to restore an old school building. It is basically the club house of many of the boys in the school. Various school clubs use its rooms to hold their meetings and do their research. The school board of directors want to tear it down and build a brand new building. But this building has a bit more to offer and the kids want to restore this clubhouse in their effort to fight against the idea of just destroying it.
Shun is a year older than Umi. He has is one of the ringleaders in trying to save the school clubhouse. Umi lost her father during one of the post WWII wars. Everyday when her father left on his ship to go on patrol Umi would raise signal flags to help guide her father home. Even though he eventually never returned, she still raises those signal flags.
With all the chaos around them, can Shun and Umi manage to get to know each other better? Will they ever get their feelings for each other out in the open? Tune in to find out!
So this was a really, really good movie. I love nearly every one of Miyazaki’s movies but this one was just so well done. It has a fabulous story, great artwork and just enough comedy to keep it lighthearted. The worst I saw in this movie was a very brief scene with a woman breastfeeding a child. If memory serves you can’t actually see anything, ah shall we say important. The baby blocks much of it but you can indeed see part of a bare breast for a few seconds.
Beyond that it is a clean movie. There was very little language. I don’t recall reading or hearing any true profanity, just watered down insults (“you blockhead” and the like). The fact that this was a Disney backed movie in America probably helped on that part. If you are looking for a great, clean story this is your movie. I don’t highly recommend movies to be child friendly but this sure fits the bill.
Summary: Wonderful, kid friendly, movie that keeps adults entertained as well as children.
Movie length: 91 minutes
Content: Clean (visually and language)
Language: Japanese and English