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From Up On Poppy Hill (2013)



Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 84
Fresh: 70 | Rotten: 14

Gentle and nostalgic, From Up on Poppy Hill is one of Studio Ghibli's sweeter efforts -- and if it doesn't push the boundaries of the genre, it remains as engagingly lovely as Ghibli fans have come to expect.


Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 3

Gentle and nostalgic, From Up on Poppy Hill is one of Studio Ghibli's sweeter efforts -- and if it doesn't push the boundaries of the genre, it remains as engagingly lovely as Ghibli fans have come to expect.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 10,075

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Movie Info

The setting is Yokohama in 1963, and the filmmakers lovingly bring to life the bustling seaside town, with its misty harbor, sun-drenched gardens, shops and markets, and some of the most mouthwatering Japanese home-cooking set to film. The story centers on an innocent romance beginning to bud between Umi and Shun, two high school kids caught up in the changing times. Japan is picking itself up from the devastation of World War II and preparing to host the 1964 Olympics - and the mood is one of

Sep 3, 2013


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All Critics (84) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (70) | Rotten (14) | DVD (2)

The gorgeous score and subtle visual craft save this entry in the Ghibli canon from mediocrity. But given what the studio is capable of, it's not everything fans will be hoping for.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A departure for Studio Ghibli - an emotionally nuanced, nostalgic look at the past that is grounded in everyday reality but retains the humor and delight that are part of the studio's trademark.

May 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Goro Miyazaki has a style that's both more painterly and more cinematic than the cartoonish norm, while his father's screenplay is a classic coming-of-age story that seems suited for a live-action remake.

April 18, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the wisdom of this artfully rendered film, Umi and Shun - and the viewer - come to learn that the past and the future should go hand in hand, that the best way to move forward is to reflect, and respect, what came before.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story of a girl grappling with first love, the absence of her parents and the anxieties of an on-rushing future in 1963 Yokohama has all the earmarks of a Miyazaki classic.

April 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's perfectly fine, but it's not a patch on "Spirited Away," "My Neighbor Totoro," "Princess Mononoke," and other Studio Ghibli classics.

April 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A rather mediocre film...And yet, even with all of its faults, I still find myself oddly swept up in its familial drama.

May 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

If this Ghibli creation is smaller in scale than many of the company's films, it certainly doesn't lack for heart or soul. I was swept away in it.

January 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

There are no real villains in this story. All the people are basically good and they try to do the right thing. The artwork is beautiful and the film also has considerable emotional power.

December 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

The story will undoubtedly appear slow moving and uneventful to those used to the pizzazz of Pixar, but allow the richly detailed hand-drawn animation to work its charms and the film's mood of gentle nostalgia proves surprisingly moving.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

From Up on Poppy Hill may be able to boast about its outstanding music and smooth animation, but it's far too flat to leave much of an impression.

September 7, 2013 Full Review Source:

A lovely Japanese hand-drawn animated film with a female heroine.

September 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It's really hard to go wrong with a Studio Ghibli film, and From Up on Poppy Hill is no exception. It may not be their very best work, but it's still good work, full of charm and fun.

September 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

The magic is found in the everyday details of domestic life.

August 22, 2013 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

A gently lyrical diversion for Ghibli die-hards ... a gentle snooze for others.

August 12, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

It's a lively, touching story, full of sadness and optimism, drawn with an unaffected simplicity.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

An interesting way of tackling everything from understanding parentage to the atomic bomb which devastated Nagasaki.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

From Up On Poppy Hill finds Goro Miyazaki sitting much more comfortably in the director's chair, but fans of Studio Ghibli's fantasy epics may find this fanciful delight to be lacking the familiar magic.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

Beautifully precise architectural sketches, endearingly warm nostalgia, gentle teen romance and genuine intrigue.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

It ... arrives with the vast reserves of patience, optimism and artistry we've come to expect from this studio.

August 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian

The incest-scare subplot never trips up the movie's charm. And there's a haunting reverberance, very Hayao Miyazaki, to the war memories that empower the parental back-stories.

August 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Not up there with the Ghibli masterworks of yore, but still a bounty of ideas and emotions.

August 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

You don't watch a Studio Ghibli film so much as sink into it like a hot spring, with groans of delight.

August 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Joyously warm and gentle... though perhaps too gentle to be entirely satisfying.

August 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

From Up on Poppy Hill's protagonists emerge as unexpectedly facetless, especially from a studio with such a vibrant and morally complex back catalogue.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: The Skinny

Audience Reviews for From Up On Poppy Hill

From Up on Poppy Hill is a sweet and more sensible Studio Ghibli film that follows the likes of Only Yesterday and Whisper of the Heart in temperament and style. Personally I like the Ghibli films that are based on Japanese folk law that have talking animals and bonkers characters but I do like them both. This is only Gor? Miyazaki's second Ghibli feature, his first being one of my least favorites; Tales From Earthsea. He has big shoes to fill but I think he'll do well as his Father's replacement. From Up on Poppy Hill is just as uplifting as you'd expect from the studio, I was concerned when the issue of incest popped up but rest assured, in Ghibli you can trust.
April 28, 2014

Super Reviewer

Directed by Goro Miyazaki (Tales From Earthsea), "From Up on Poppy Hill" is a minor work in the Studio Ghibli canon, albeit a lighthearted and charming one. Written by Hayao Miyazaki, the story is perhaps his most grounded yet, discarding the fantasy of his other works in favor of a simple, nostalgic take on a young romance (around the time of the Tokyo Olympiad).

The characters are likable, even as a surprising, life-changing turn of events stains there relationship. The subject of said mystery I will not spoil here, but I was pretty shocked that a Ghibli film would tread such (potentially) uncomfortable territory, but it's all innocent and handled really well.

The animation is really good, if a little rough around the edges at times. The film lacks the lingering establishment frames and joyous ambiance of Hayao Miyazaki's directorial efforts, and there is nothing particularly memorable on a visual level. But a low-key beauty suits the low-key melodrama of the picture.

"From Up on Poppy Hill" is a step in the right direction for Goro as a torchbearer for his father. It is flawed, it's animation not perfect, and it doesn't conclude in the most satisfying of fashions, but likable central characters, complex emotions and a tone like sunshine go a long way. Like any Studio Ghibli effort, it's well worth seeing.
November 4, 2013

Super Reviewer

Goro Miyazaki's From Up on Poppy Hill takes it slow and steady.Concluding at an hour and a half, the consistent sense of not knowing there the story is going is what keeps this film afloat. Backed by a calm atmosphere and a slower pace, the buildup of characters comes first and foremost, while the setting of the picture is a delight.As with any good anime, the design of the characters are great and the attention to background detail work wonders at making the story that much more engrossing.Voice work goes a long way in animations and there is no problem here. Masami Nagasawa and Junichi Okada highlight the cast.From Up on Poppy Hill doesn't pull any sharp turns with its storytelling, but when all is said and done, the story comes to a close nice and easy.
September 15, 2013
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

Goro Miyazaki's sophomore effort (with the help of his father writing the screenplay) goes for a much more down-to-earth period piece (set in 1960's Japan) in contrast to the high-concept fantasy of 'Tales from Earthsea' (aka. Tales from Bored-sea). While slightly better than his previous effort (which isn't saying a whole lot), Goro fails to make a convincing argument that he has what it takes to carry on his father's legacy.

While far from a bad movie, 'From Up on Poppy Hill' feels completely uneventful, especially for a Studio Ghibli flick. In a way it comes off as a much lesser version of 'Whisper of the Heart'; another idealistic boy-meets-girl devoid of the typical Ghibli magical realism. However, where 'Whisper of the Heart' managed to tell a powerfully sweet coming-of-age tale while making mundane everyday life seem enchanting on it's own right; 'From Up on Poppy Hill' instead tells an unsettlingly trite "save the rec-center" plot with Goro's direction lacking the expert eye-for-detail or youthful invigoration in order to make the ordinary city-scape exciting. One of the few times the film conjures up any of that special Studio Ghibli magic is in the clubhouse scenes.

The script by Hayao Miyazaki and Kaiko Niwa contains interesting themes regarding the idea of keeping the memory of the past alive while still looking forward to the future but Goro fails to conjure up any emotional resonance or intrigue from this simple tale. The characters are mostly forgettable; with the protagonist Umi being the only character with anything resembling depth (although far from the most engaging female protagonist that Studio Ghibli films contain in spades) and her romantic interest Shun contains zero personality. The narrative is blandly straightforward and little background is given as to why the clubhouse is so important to save from demolition (the students keep talking about how much history the clubhouse contains but we are never told any of it). There is also a plot twist that happens halfway through that could have been daringly interesting but the ensuing drama is so half-baked and the fact that it is literally retconed fifteen minutes later leaves the whole thing feeling like a cheap gimmicky soap-opera curveball (also leads to the biggest WTF moment in the film; those who've seen the movie will know what I'm talking about).

Aside from the good animation and atypical sets 'From Up on Poppy Hill' is Goro's second time at bat and things are not looking too bright. Either he needs to find his own style or has to stop making films altogether (emulating his father's style is only calling attention to all his shortcomings as a filmmaker).
September 1, 2013
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Der Mohnblumenberg (DE)
  • From Up On Poppy Hill (Kokurikozaka kara) (UK)
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