Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and Landmark Regent in Westwood played “From Up on Poppy Hill” from March though May 2.
“From Up on Poppy Hill” comes from Japan’s Studio Ghibli, the illustrious group that has given us a succession of animated masterpieces by Hayao Miyazaki.
This film was co-written by the master, but directed by his son, Goro Miyazaki.
Set in Yokohama just before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, “Poppy Hill” is a coming-of-age story in which the young heroine, Umi, who has lost her father on an accident at sea, meets Shun, the first love of her life.
But it’s also an adoption story – Shun may or may not be her brother – plus a plea, rooted in Japan’s rush to modernization, for conserving connections to a past represented by as school clubhouse that’s about to be torn down.
In other words, a film about many things – so many that the magic of Studio Ghibli’s past has been displaced by exposition and earnest discussion.
The movie looks lovely, but it’s luminous prose.
(The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2013)