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Universal acclaim - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 65 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her – but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime. [Gkids]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 21, 2014
    100
    This delicate, hand-drawn marvel is lyrical and heartbreaking in ways that most live-action movies never approach.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Oct 16, 2014
    100
    The Tale of Princess Kaguya is both very simple and head-spinningly confounding, a thing of endless visual beauty that seems to partake in a kind of pictorial minimalism but finds staggering possibilities for beautiful variation within its ineluctable modality. It’s a true work of art.
  3. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Oct 23, 2014
    91
    At over two hours, it might test the patience of some younger viewers (and some impatient older ones as well), but for anyone willing to take the time, it's an utter treat.
  4. Reviewed by: Elise Nakhnikian
    Oct 14, 2014
    88
    The soft colors, graceful movements, and clean lines together embody the ineffable beauty of life on Earth that is one of the film's main themes.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 4, 2014
    88
    It's good for the soul, and composer Joe Hisaishi's themes are so right they sound as if they came straight out of the ground with the girl in the bamboo.
  6. Reviewed by: Graham Fuller
    Oct 16, 2014
    80
    This adaptation of a 10th-century folk tale is less sumptuous than Ghibli maestro Hiyao Miyazaki’s surreal classics, yet it’s also more affecting than most of them. An allegory about the irrecoverable joys of childhood, it may make parents hug their kids now.
  7. Reviewed by: Ben Nicholson
    Sep 10, 2014
    60
    Taking Eastern watercolours as inspiration, the aesthetic is impressionistic and painterly with a fluidity that imbues the piece with an intrinsic magic.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Oct 19, 2014
    10
    "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya" is Isao Takahata's renaissance since disappointed "My Neighbors the Yamadas". A gorgeous, beautiful and"The Tale of the Princess Kaguya" is Isao Takahata's renaissance since disappointed "My Neighbors the Yamadas". A gorgeous, beautiful and classical folktale with particular Ghibli avant-garde sight. This film is a masterpiece, a Japanese delicate old painting that it's filmed-made. Expand
  2. Oct 17, 2014
    10
    It's astonishing. A prime example of how much poetic beauty, grace and wonder a film can inspire with so little. Mr. Takahata designs the filmIt's astonishing. A prime example of how much poetic beauty, grace and wonder a film can inspire with so little. Mr. Takahata designs the film with minimal impressionistic dream scribbles that makes the whole thing like like a delicate precious jewel that is humbling to view — not with its story of divinity, but its strange, wonderful tale of humanity. That this same sense of passionate sensitivity went into developing the princess herself into a fully developed and emotionally complicated woman rarely seen in film, animated or otherwise, helps it to transcend to the level of an unqualified masterpiece. It's my favorite movie of the year. Expand
  3. Jan 5, 2015
    10
    5/5★ Drawn in a delicate watercolor style that bleeds from the edges and utilizing simple charcoal-like lines to convey complex emotions, this5/5★ Drawn in a delicate watercolor style that bleeds from the edges and utilizing simple charcoal-like lines to convey complex emotions, this Studio Ghibli film is a wonderful example of how film can be art. Princess Kaguya's tale is told in a frank and realistic manner and with an un-Disney like lack of cutesy characters. It's a film that treats its audience and subject matter with maturity and respect.
    The care in every moment is obvious, the story is heartbreaking and proof that it's the films that don't have a happy ending that are most memorable.
    Verdict: Watch.
    Expand
  4. Jan 21, 2015
    10
    No stranger to crafting animated works of devastating emotional power, Isao Takahata''s latest masterpiece, and I don't throw that term aroundNo stranger to crafting animated works of devastating emotional power, Isao Takahata''s latest masterpiece, and I don't throw that term around lightly in any capacity, is a beautiful impressionistic fantasy with a towering quality of timelessness and emotional realism. Watching The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is the equivalent of having one of your childhood fairy tales fleshed out in a universe that feels more tangible than anything you've ever experienced in animation. I cannot stress the overwhelming beauty of the art style featured throughout Kaguya. I was blown away. The hand-drawn sequences stun with simultaneous clarity and formlessness, reflecting the duality of the perception of reality. I was emotionally floored when the climax came to pass. It is an ending that makes me consider my past failures in life and all the wasted time and emotions I've spent on not living to the utmost that will truly hit me hardest upon the forever leaving of a person from my life, maybe even my own passing. To love people as deeply as we do, and then to spend our time avoiding emotional intimacy or dismissing the great love for others that lie untapped in our beings, is truly heartbreaking. I cried at the finale, but the deep reservoirs of heartache that The Tale of the Princess Kaguya caused me is something I that I'm still reeling from almost a week after seeing it. The overall joyous euphoria I experienced leading up to Kaguya's departure wasn't underscored by the romantic dread that this feeling is only fleeting, allowing you to truly forget entirely about real-life eventuality and become absolutely lost in the primal happiness found in the recesses of childhood memories, only to find out moments later that this feeling will not last, just like youth itself. Do not squander your time. Find love and cling to it, in it's many forms and accompanying heartaches, for if you do not, your life will pass you by and you will not be able to remember what it truly means to be human, the greatest tragedy of all, which truly makes The Tale of the Princess Kaguya a must-see, once in a lifetime, impossible accomplishment. Expand
  5. Oct 17, 2014
    9
    With the exception of the energetic The Lego Movie, this year has been a disappointment for the animated genre. What a relief then it is thatWith the exception of the energetic The Lego Movie, this year has been a disappointment for the animated genre. What a relief then it is that Isao Takahata's (Grave of the Fireflies) new film is a triumphant success.

    Based on a 10th century Japanese folktale, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a bitter-sweet coming of age story. Our protagonist is Kaguya-hime who is discovered as a baby in a bamboo stalk by an old peasant man. He and his childless wife raise her as their own, providing the best they can as she rapidly ages. While her mother is fearful of change and just wants a comfortable life for her adopted daughter, her father envisions great things. He sees Kaguya as part of a divine plan and after fine clothes and gold come shooting out of bamboo stalks he concludes that the heavens want her to become a proper princess. He assumes this is the best way to make his daughter happy instead of asking her what she wants.

    A sharply observed feminist critique of traditional Japanese culture as well as a cautionary tale of the burdens we place on our children, The Tale of Princess Kaguya has a wealth of complex themes and archetypes hidden beneath the surface of its fairly straight- forward story. This is one of the rare films that are both easily accessible to a young audience and one that film students can write thesis papers on.

    The final word should be reserved for Studio Ghibli's animation. The style used invokes something between impressionist paintings and water-colours while employing a muted palette. Ghibli moves away from traditional anime and the results are breathtaking. The hand drawn frames could each stand alone as a portrait and yet the film feels fluid. At times the animation blurs into expressionism; the brush strokes matching the characters inner- turmoil.

    Easily the best animated film of the year, it's a must see for fans of the genre.
    Expand
  6. Oct 22, 2014
    7
    While I love the film, the animation in particular, I can't help but feel frustrated with the story, which is extremely confusing withoutWhile I love the film, the animation in particular, I can't help but feel frustrated with the story, which is extremely confusing without having read the original tale and never feels like it's building to anything until the unexpected and unfulfilling climax.

    Disney knew how to adapt a fairy tale so that it was a cinematic experience, but that skill was not evident in this script, aside from a few beautiful sequences that had to be separated from the plot as dream sequences. However, the animation is fresh and lovely to see on the big screen, each motion beautifully captured. The love of the Princess' parents and the ill-fated attempts of heaven to get them to give her an existence she never wanted are well explored as tragic, although it's well countered by understated comedy. The Japanese culture on display is intriguing, although one or two instances left me confused as some character appeared or event occurred I didn't know enough about to understand the meaning of.

    Overall a good film, with the look and style of beautiful Asian art. But it failed to touch me emotionally, and its overlong running time was difficult to sit through. I want to love it more, but ultimately find it frustrating where the best Ghibilis were always awe-inspiring and engrossing.
    Expand

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