This is some of Miyazaki’s best work. It’s enchanting, touching, sentimental, funny, and occasionally, simply astonishing. Miyazaki has a gift for capturing the honesty and wonder of childhood yet he does so without sugarcoating or pandering.
I’ve seen this movie twice so far. I’d like to see it again in the theater before it leaves. Why? I just enjoyed it so much. It’s funny, touching, exciting, screwball, warm, lovely, and just plain entertaining.
This is a personal movie. By that I mean that how you react to it is very much dependent on your personality and your outlook on life, plus your willingness to let a story unfold that has less linear direction and story than more declarative, plot-driven films.
A businessman returns to his country home in rural China to bury his recently deceased schoolteacher father. He finds his distraught mother insisting on a long funeral procession with friends and former students bearing the coffin. The road to be taken has special meaning dating back to the parents' courtship. It is the courtship in flashback that dominates the film.