Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) (1988)
Critics Consensus: An achingly sad anti-war film, Grave of the Fireflies is one of Studio Ghibli's most profoundly beautiful, haunting works.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Grave of the Fireflies opens on an evening in 1945, after Japan's surrender at the end of World War II; and in a train station, the young Seita dies alone. The rest of the movie tells us, in flashback, how things have come to this. Seita and Setsuko are two young Japanese children growing up in the waning days of World War II. Much to Seita's pride, their father is in the Japanese navy, and they live fairly content lives in Kobe despite rationing and the other privations of war. When their mother dies from burns suffered during an American fire-bombing raid, a distant aunt takes them in -- and conflict eventually forces the children to try to survive on their own. At first, Seita and his little sister enjoy their idyllic lives in the country, but harsh reality eventually settles in as Seita begins to understand the difficulties of taking care of a young child when both food and compassion are scarce. ~ Emru Townsend, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies)
Writer-director Isao Takahata, a frequent collaborator of Miyazaki's at Studio Ghibli, adapted a partly autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, and his handling of the tragic story is masterfully understated.
An emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation.
Isao Takahata's masterpiece is one of the most profound anti-war statements ever brought to cinema
...a well-made and heartfelt drama that's just not as engrossing as it should be.
Such odd hopefulness, flitting around a child, mixed with the overwhelmingly sad, pervades Isao Takahata's film. And all around Seita and Setsuko, nature, in the face of human destruction and tragedy, persists in its beauty.
The stylised images suit the simplicity and gravity of a grim story of love, sacrifice and survival in the face of adult indifference and cruelty.
We're so used to seeing the human spirit triumph. Here, we're allowed to understand how it might fail.
There are magical moments of natural beauty and childish delight, too - which only make the tragedy even more harrowing.
The idea that "War is Hell" has almost become something of a climatic cliché, but Takahata's film explores this well-worn slogan from new, exciting and harrowing angles.
Isao Takahata's powerful anti-war movie is all the more harrowing for the care we invest in its beautifully drawn children.
The ephemeral fireflies, which fascinate the children and accompany them everywhere, become a potent and lyrical symbol of the fragility, brevity and beauty of life.
Quivers with every kind of wracking emotion: rage, sorrow, despair, fatigue, and in the end, a tiny measure of hope that perhaps there's something better than this in the next world.
Takahata's alternately sweeping and intimate animated feature is a moving depiction of the fates of cast-off children who become casualties of war.
Even though it's not exactly easy to watch the protracted deaths of two children, this is not only one of the greatest anime ever, but also an important (anti-) war film. A moving masterpiece.
Very simply the gentlest and most touching war-related film I've ever seen.
Um retrato sem concessões do horror da guerra e de suas conseqüências não apenas sobre a sociedade, mas sobre indivíduos comuns. Emocionalmente devastador.
... a beautiful lament and a moving tribute to the people we rarely consider when we think about World War 2: those Japanese who suffered for the crimes of their leaders.
Incredibly moving. The ultimate tear-jerker.
Audience Reviews for Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies)
Picking a favourite Studio Ghibli film is near impossible for most fans. My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Ponyo and Porco Rosso come very close as personal favourites for me but I think Grave of the Fireflies is undoubtedly their greatest and most powerful achievement. It's rare that any film can have such an emotional impact as Grave of the Fireflies does, whether it's real or animation but rarely does an animated film provoke such feelings. Along with Watership Down, Grave of the Fireflies really did push the boundaries when it came to the power of cartoons and showed just how important animation is in cinema. A heartbreaking film, historically important, wonderfully executed and rightfully regarded as a masterpiece. Not a typical Studio Ghibli production but as brilliant as you'd expect from them.
A devastating animation that never holds back in its haunting depiction of the horrors of war and the people whose lives are destroyed by it, and the result simply ranks among one of the most powerful anti-war films to be ever experienced - animated or not.More
One of the saddest films of all time and one of the greatest anti-war films ever created (even if it wasn't director Isao Takahata's exact intentions but that is a different discussion entirely and is irrelevant to this review). A harrowing tale of innocent children caught up in the terribly indifferent effects of wartime. This is no heroic tale of differing ideologies and factions, this is a very emotionally-taxing tale set in the waning days of WWII that will leave you feeling depressed as a brother and sister are physically and emotionally worn-away by the cold world that deprived them of their parents. Be sure to have plenty of tissues upon viewing this tear-jerking masterpiece. Can't believe this was released together with 'My Neighbor Totoro' (practically the happiest movie ever made). Talk about a bi-polar double-bill.More
without question one of the saddest films i have ever seen. its films like this that have contributed so much to my near pacifism. the world is so dark, and life is so fragile, and often times its the most innocent among us that suffer the most. incredibly moving.More
Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) Quotes
- I've been having diarrhea.
- [about Setsuko] She never woke up again.
- Why must firefiles die so young?
- Why must fireflies die so young?
- September 21, 1945... that was the night I died.
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