From Up On Poppy Hill (2013)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: 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.


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 … More

Rating: PG (for mild thematic elements and some incidental smoking images)
Genre: Drama, Animation, Kids & Family, Art House & International
Directed By:
Written By: Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 3, 2013
Box Office: $1.0M
Runtime:
Independent Pictures - Official Site

Cast


as Umi (Japanese langua...

as Sora (Japanese langu...

as Shun (Japanese langu...

as Sachiko

as Miki (Japanese langu...

as Riku (Japanese langu...

as Yoshio

as Sachiko (Japanese la...

as Mr. Tokumaru

as Akio (Japanese langu...

as Philosophy Club Pres...

as Fish Seller

as Mr. Tokumaru's Assis...

as Ryoko (Japanese lang...

as Hana (Japanese langu...

as Yoshio (Japanese lan...

as Mr. Tokumaru (Japane...

as Mizunuma (Japanese l...
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for From Up On Poppy Hill

All Critics (84) | Top Critics (27)

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.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 25, 2014
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.

Full Review… | January 2, 2014
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.

Full Review… | December 17, 2013
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.

Full Review… | September 23, 2013
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.

Full Review… | September 7, 2013
Examiner.com

Audience Reviews for From Up On Poppy Hill

½

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.

YLOWBSTARDreturns
Michael S

Super Reviewer

½

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.

skactopus
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

½

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).

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

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