The Garden of Words / 言の葉の庭 / Kotonoha no Niwa (2013)

The Garden of Words briefly wraps up all Makoto Shinkai’s earmarks, with gorgeous Malickian pictures and heart-wrenching story told mostly in monologues, in a 45-minute tale of a 15-year-old boy who falls for a much older woman. Will they rain stop?

Movie Review The Garden of Words (2013)

Clocking in at 46 minutes, The Garden of Words briefly wraps up all Makoto Shinkai’s earmarks, with gorgeous Malickian pictures and a heart-wrenching story told mostly in monologues. As proof of his natural approach (shown in the visual elements and the lack of fantasy taste), this movie has been my second favorite feature of Shinkai’s masterpiece (after 5 Centimeters per Second).

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The story revolves around, Takao (voiced by Miyu Irino), a 15-year-old boy, who dreams of being a shoemaker. On rainy days, he likes to skip classes and goes to a garden to practice making real shoes. There, he meets a much older woman, Yukino (Kana Hanazawa), who he finds very mysterious by a chance. Every rainy day, both of them meet in that garden as the relationship between them grows more intimately. Yet, the rainy season won’t last forever.

In comparison to Shinkai’s previous works, The Garden of Words is a little too moderate if not melodramatic, but lite and still enjoyable. Shinkai’s vibrant and detailed visual style doesn’t change as he depicts the naturalness of the rain and the light with an excessively warm tone. Visually, this film looks less different from its predecessors; yet, if you think it sounds different, it might be right. There’s no Tenmon, composing the score for this movie—as Shinkai has Daisuke Kashiwa on the pitch, who fortunately doesn’t forget to put an emotionally catchy song (this time, it’s “Rain” from Motohiro Hata) like 5 Centimeters per Second.

The duration and the pace of the movie is a little bit tricky—as the film goes forward very quick. Yet, I think it’s enough to wrap such kind of story (noticing that Shinkai’s not good at writing a longer story), but not enough to cover what it might project—between leaving it a heartbreaking story or concluding it with a more risky end? However, it’s already a good movie after all. So… let the rain speaks.

Koto no ha no niwa (2013) 46min | Animation, Drama, Romance | 31 May 2013 (Japan) Summary: A 15-year-old boy and 27-year-old woman find an unlikely friendship one rainy day in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
Countries: JapanLanguages: Japanese, English

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