Review

Whisper of the Heart: heart-warming moments from Studio Ghibli

Whisper of the Heart is a romantic movie from the renowned Studio Ghibli that portrays two young people following their artistic passions and falling in love. The film represents artists starting out in their fields, who wonder if they have the skills to make it as artists.

Artists’ dreams

Other Studio Ghibli movies have explored similar themes in more metaphorical ways, but Whisper of the Heart directly shares the story of the struggle artists face with their creativity and passion. The movie also portrays a lovely romance between Shizuku and Seiji, who encourage each other to pursue their passions, even if it means they can’t see each other all the time. The teenagers care about each other’s goals and futures more than their own desires to spend time together, because they both understand the struggles of achieving your dreams as artists.

Female lead in Whisper of the Heart

Shizuku goes against the trope of the perfectly organised, straight A, stuck up female leads that are often seen in teen romance movies. Like a lot of Ghibli’s heroines, she is messy, disorganised, loud and complains a lot. She’s a typical young girl, which makes her both realistic and relatable. It’s not often that girls with these characteristics are seen at the centre of children’s animated films. Instead of trying to project the unrealistic image of what girls are supposed to be like, Ghibli movies represent real people. Most importantly, Shizuku speaks her mind, whether that’s to her teachers, her family or her classmates. Shizuku doesn’t hesitate to tell the boys at school when they’re being annoying and she sticks up for herself.

Struggling artists

Seiji dreams of moving to Italy to craft instruments but doesn’t feel like he’s good enough. He practises every day so that he can eventually go there and prove himself, though he has no idea if it will work out. Seiji is dedicated to trying to achieve his goals rather than worrying about the outcome.

Shizuku is a writer who struggles with her confidence and wonders if her work is good enough. She experiences writer’s block and loses her passion for a while, doubting her abilities and wondering if she is wasting her time. This is a very common occurrence for any kind of artist, often discussed by Studio Ghibli artist Hayao Miyazaki.

Shizuku becomes more motivated to keep working on her writing when she is praised by her peers, especially after being encouraged and mentored by musician and artist Mr. Nishi.

Whisper of the Heart brings comfort to those who are experiencing a roadblock with their passion. It details the ups and downs that come with being creative, from the moments when you feel most motivated to the moments where you want to give up. The main message is that you should continue at your own pace and keep practising to get to where you want in the end.

Wholesome romance in Whisper of the Heart

Whisper of the Heart portrays the blossoming romance between Shizuku and Seiji, two high school students who share their love of reading. Their romance is very innocent and sweet, driven by shared passions.

Seiji tries to get Shizuku’s attention by borrowing every book in their school library because he knows that she loves to read. Shizuku sees Seiji’s name at the top of the sign out sheet of every book she borrows, and finds herself wondering who he is.

Studio Ghibli is great at creating heart-warming moments from small gestures like these. Seiji teases Shizuku when they first meet, but they soon fall for each other the way that young people do when they have no experience with relationships yet. This being said, they share a healthy relationship, encouraging each other’s passions. They both work hard to each individually achieve their goals. Though they’re so young, they focus on growing as individuals so they can see each other get to where they want in the future.

Read more by Katie Maughan

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