The Garden of Words

Written & Directed by Makoto Shinkai/Produced by Noritaka Kawaguchi/Music by Kashiwa Daisuke

As the rainy season sets in, Takao decides to skip his first-period class and spend that time in the public gardens with his sketchpad, working on shoe designs. While there, he unexpectedly encounters an attractive young woman, several years his senior, who is obviously skipping work to sit in the park drinking alcohol and eating chocolate. Their brief meeting that morning leaves an impression on both of them, and as chance encounters seem to keep drawing them together, they become even more . . . intrigued, I guess, by one another. However, there are things that must be said aloud to be understood, something that Yukino (the young lady) is still struggling to grasp.

The Garden of Words is extremely Makoto Shinkai–beautiful, poignant, and painful. The story and characters lay bare the brokenness and struggle of humanity, yet also display the unique human ability to touch the lives of others. It’s a hopeful, wistful, tender sort of story. The music and animation support the story excellently–a quiet piano soundtrack for the most part, paired with absolutely stunning artwork that is almost photographic at points. This really is a must-see movie. Highly recommended.

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