Staff Pick: “Howl’s Moving Castle”
In one of Studio Ghibli’s most imaginative and well-received films, “Howl’s Moving Castle” tells the story of Sophie, a young hatter who experiences one fateful encounter that leaves her victim to an aging spell cast by a witch. She sets off on a solo-journey to crack the spell, and along the way encounters a magical, life-like castle that moves on two legs and has its own personality. The moving castle holds many mysteries that Sophie will learn in hopes of returning to her 18-year-old body, but other obstacles along the way challenge her self-perception of her own beauty and youth. This film is renowned for distinct characters including the fireplace flame “Calcifer,” beautifully depicted fantasy that includes a teleportation wheel to mystical worlds, as well as director Hayao Miyazaki’s embedded commentary on global-conflict dynamics through anti-war themes. “Howl’s Moving Castle” depicts a beautiful and dense story of love and commitment, and this film is sure to mesmerize both new and old animation viewers alike.