Film Review: Suzume

The film starts with a point-of-view shot that already showcases the beauty of the animation that we will see throughout the film. But the beauty of it is not so much the current scene shows the experience of the character. Suzume runs around searching and feels anxious. Thankfully it is just a dream. But is it?

The animation is well animated, well executed, showcasing the beauty and skill of the production team throughout the film. The attention to detail and fluidity of the animation is impressive, capturing the emotions and movements of the characters with great precision and lovely style.

Suzume and Souta (Credit: CoMix Wave Films / Story (II))

Suzume, a 17-year-old girl who resides in a tranquil town in Kyushu, encounters a young man who is on a quest to find doors. Intrigued, Suzume trails him to a ruins of hot spring in the mountains where they stumble upon a free-standing, undisturbed door – as if it alone was saved from devastation. It kickstarts the story of the film.

Other characters might see that she is in her rebellious stage as a teenager. Yet the journey of Suzume is meaningful, as she navigates the challenges and complexities of life while accompanying Souta in his mission. And at the same time not so complex as we live them all everyday. Along the way, she meets a range of interesting characters who offer different perspectives and insights, adding depth and nuance to the story.

Without going into further detail of the plot. I can summarise it as whatever happens at the beginning, it all started at the end. It brings a non-linear storyline that is enjoyable but on the other hand makes the story not quite whole. Still, there is a resolution at the end. Maybe it is what makes Makoto Shinkai seem to rush what Suzume feels toward Souta. 

Though the resolution is good. But the worm as a creature that wants to destroy Japan is too mysterious. It is stated as some kind of a disaster the main characters have to mitigate. They could give more context of what it is. What happened in the past with Japan and with the worm is briefly explained but not really makes me understand what’s going on. 

The non-linear storyline is enjoyable but leaves the story feeling somewhat incomplete, though there is a resolution at the end. Overall, the film’s animation and exploration of life’s complexities make it worth watching, even with its flaws.

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