Howl’s Moving Castle follows Sophie Hatter, a young but practical caretaker and hatmaker who meets Howl, a feared wizard who is both charming and bratty, who is known for stealing the souls of young women, in a chance encounter. Sophie is then cursed by the evil Witch of the Waste who is looking for Howl, and Sophie becomes transformed into an elderly woman. Sophie then goes on a journey to find the Witch and get her to reverse the curse, and running into Howl’s literally moving castle and goes on a wonderful adventure.
One of the great minds behind the film adaptation is Hayao Miyazaki, the beloved co-founder and frequent director of Studio Ghibli films. He just celebrated his 80th birthday this past week, and there is no better time than now to check these films out if you haven’t already.
As an adult, Studio Ghibli movies have been a source of wonder, magic, comfort, and unbelievably beautiful animation. Many of Studio Ghibli’s movies are intended for kids, but there is so much to enjoy for all ages. Perhaps there is something to be said about revisiting childlike wonder in difficult times!
They are funny, heartwarming and simultaneously heart wrenching, visually striking, and overwhelmingly humane and generous.
During the pandemic I’ve been watching and re-watching some of my favourites: Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Spirited Away, and of course, Howl’s Moving Castle.