Grave of the Fireflies

1988

Animation / Drama / War

6
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 95%
IMDb Rating 8.5 10 0 158184

Synopsis


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1280*692
Japanese
Unrated
23.976
01 hr 29 min
P/S 131 / 130
1.33 GB
1920*1040
Japanese
Unrated
23.976
01 hr 29 min
P/S 112 / 110

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by The_Fifth_Echo 10 / 10

A Beautiful Unforgettable Masterpiece that shows the true cost of war.

I decided to watch Grave of the Fireflies yesterday. My friends told me it was extremely moving and sad. I hesitated at first, but then I said "Oh well, I'll give it a try." At the end of the film, I was crying my eyes out. This was the best animated film, I've ever seen.This is a moving depiction of the fates of cast-off children who become casualties of war.

This movie isn't your regular Animated Film. Pixar and Disney put films out there with happy endings. I'm not saying there bad films at all. They are also great pieces of work. But Grave of the Fireflies tells you the truth. This movie isn't trying to entertain you. It wants to inform you about how war is really like. There were many moments in the movie, that just brought me to tears.

I am kind of upset, that this movie didn't get many awards as it should. In that regards, it is VERY underrated and it is kind of thrown apart. When it should really be respected and praise it. If this movie was made in our time period right now. I would be 100% sure this would of Won an Oscar for Best Animated Film. This is Studio Ghilbi's best movie they have ever released.

I truly advice you to bring a handkerchief, cause chances are that you will cry.

An Emotional Epic Animated Film, that I recommend everyone to watch.

Quite Simply 10/10

Reviewed by Nogami 10 / 10

The best movie you'll never want to see again

I had the fortune of being able to see Hotaru no Haka on the big-screen in Seattle a couple of years ago. It was truly the high-point of my film festival excursions. At the end of the movie, there was silence, absolute and total silence in the theater - and then, only an occasional sniffle until the end credits had finished rolling and the house lights came up. It would've seemed almost disrespectful to profane the silence with words.

Seeing a movie like this really changes attitudes about war - about who really suffers, and that the honor and glory is shallow comfort when you contemplate what has been lost in the struggle.

I've made the comment to my friends that if you ever see someone who isn't moved (usually to tears) by this movie, you've found someone without a soul. As difficult as it is to watch, turn off the phone, dim the lights, and immerse yourself in the film with ones you love - you will be a better person for it in the end.

There are many other reviews of this movie, and most of them are probably far more comprehensive than my own - I'll conclude by saying that this movie should required viewing at some point (as should the peace museums at Hiroshima and Nagasaki) for everyone.

When you see war and conflict in the news or read about it in the paper, think back to this movie - your perspective will probably be broadened, and your eyes opened a bit more.

I've only watched this movie about 4 times - it usually takes a year or so to "decompress" after watching it. To see it too often would lessen the impact, and that would be the worst possible thing to do to this movie.

Reviewed by Lupercali 10 / 10

A masterpiece, whose beauty is often overlooked

When I watched this movie, I steeled myself for a traumatic experience, based on every review I'd ever read of it, which usually include phrases like "don't watch this if you're suicidal." Instead, if I had to pick a single word to sum up the movie I saw, it would probably be 'beautiful'.

Certainly it was sad, and arguably depressing, but I've read this movie compared with 'Saving Private Ryan'. That's ridiculous. 'Grave of the Fireflies' is gentle and poetic more often than it's violent, and it's remarkably restrained in its anti-war message. It simply tells a story : there's very little at all in the way of moralizing or polemics. Why would a story like this need such heavy-handed tactics?

I've also read it argued that the movie is robbed of any suspense or impact when it's revealed in the opening scene that the main characters are dead. I have a quite different view of that device.

Firstly. the beginning of 'Fireflies' is, for all intents and purposes, a 'happy ending'. This is such a non-linear plot development that you could fail to notice it, and thereby only see the movie's gloom. The moment where the ghostly Seita takes the ghostly Setsuko's hand and nods to her is not only a happy moment, it signifies that the suffering - which is yet to come, as far as the viewer is concerned - is over, and they are together again (albeit still without parents).

As for a character revealing that he is dead in the first line of the movie, this is a device which has been used in centuries if not Milena. The crucial thing here is that 'Fireflies' isn't _about_ tension. It tells a story whose ultimate conclusion you already know (a legitimate narrative approach), and everything which happens during that story is emotionally infused with a foreknowledge of its ending. You find yourself hoping that things will go right now for Setsuko and Seita, and then the knowledge that ultimately it won't undercuts you with real emotional power. You know the characters are going to die, but you hope things won't be so bad in the meantime. It doesn't take much of an effort to make that an analogy for our own lives, which makes us all fireflies.

Perhaps what might make someone feel disappointed or cheated by this film is simply that it's so damn honest. I mean that: it's one of the most honest, artifice-free movies I've ever seen. It doesn't even really try to ram an anti-war message down your throat there is very little overt violence, and if there are some scenes of corpses and suffering, it's never gratuitous, and it's over quickly. Compare this with 'Private Ryan', where you have to suffer through 40 minutes of the most horrific blood and guts, only to reach a conclusion which, after much blood and thunder, signifies very little.

'Fireflies', OTOH, has far more beauty than gore. This is what really surprised me about it. Probably two thirds of the movie takes place in gorgeously drawn, tranquil rural or urban settings, with an almost pleasant dreamlike quality - even when the American bombers are flying overhead at one point there is a surreal, almost serene sense to it - and there are plenty of moments of happiness to offset the undeniably sadness and frustration of other scenes.

Perhaps best of all, Setsuko is one of the very, very few (if not the only) animated 4 year-old I've ever seen who actually _behaves_ like a four year old. I'm so sick of seeing preternaturally smart, sassy, sophisticated and precocious children in Hollywood movies. Setsuko's emotion and behaviors are _exactly_ right for a completely normal four year-old, and recognizing this lends many scenes incredible poignancy. Similarly, Seita is a teenage boy who behaves with the sort of mixture of pride, compassion and hubris which you'd expect of someone his age. He still believes that Japan will win the war he thinks it's up to him to take care of his sister with their mother gone and father who knows where. This leads him to make mistakes: possibly the most obvious one being where he fails to take the farmer's advice, swallow his pride and ask his nasty aunt to take them back in again. You would probably have to say his decision not to even try - to go it alone instead, was a very bad one, but - hello, people - here is a character who makes mistakes because he's actually human: a believable teenage boy in an extraordinary situation, who doesn't miraculously save the day, because his best judgment just isn't good enough.

Of course, his aunt may well have knocked them back anyway. Who knows?

Don't go into the film expecting tension, drama or even a tirade against war. It's a movie about the beauty and fragility of life and youth. If you think Japanese animation is all giant robots and superhuman schoolgirls, this could be the film which changes your mind. It's slow, poetic, beautiful and sad, and extraordinarily honest.

I must be the only person who didn't cry during this film (and I mean, I get choked up during some Disney movies). Yes, it is sad, but its beauty and honesty is what I'll remember.

NB: this review refers to the subtitled version of the film.

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