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Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 21, 2002

The critics loved this film and I wanted to also, but I didn’t. Spirited Away ranks up there among the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen (especially with the digital projection, drool…), but the movie didn’t form a cohesive whole in my mind; about halfway through I realized that I didn’t care how it ended. Individual moments were cute or amazing or powerful, but the overall story wasn’t compelling.

What is most disappointing is that I could tell there were a lot of cultural references and symbolism that I missed as a non-Japanese viewer. I got the sense that most of the characters in the movie symbolized something and the symbolism contributed greatly to the film’s meaning, but I just didn’t get it.