DVD Review: From up on Poppy Hill
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4/5 The latest offering from legendary Studio Ghibli (creators of Spirited Away and Ponyo) is From up on Poppy Hill, a charming coming of age story set in post-war Yokohama, Japan, in 1963. From up on Poppy Hill tells the story of Umi, the put-upon daughter of a Poppy Hill guesthouse, who spends her mornings raising flags for passing ships, her days at school, and her evenings cooking and cleaning for little reward, and Shun, a charismatic and political schoolboy who is determined to save his crumbling old clubhouse from demolition at any cost. Studio Ghibli excels at what it does, conveying a sense of innocence yet still managing to be powerful. One of the main selling points of From up on Poppy Hill is its implications – we see nothing of the romance between the two central characters, yet somehow we know absolutely that it is there. This is the unique aspect, as well as the fact that the film deals with fairly heavy post-war themes (including parental loss) without becoming too dark, that means Studio Ghibli films are a pleasure for children and adults alike.
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