Director: Makoto Shinkai
Run time: 46 minutes
Overall: A very visually beautiful film that lacks depth of character and plot.
One to watch: if your looking for some nature writing inspiration.
The garden of words (2013) follows the story of Takao (a 15 year old boy) and Yukari (a 27 year old woman) who meet during a chance encounter one rainy morning. Both are escaping their problems they find comfort in each other’s silence.
The film revolves around the ideas of loneliness, longing and love. The use of rain in the film evokes a sense of tranquility, beauty and cleansing; rather than a gloomy oppressiveness that is usually associated with rain. The rain becomes so important to the characters, as it is the driving reason for them to skip out on their responsibilities and meet, that during summer it’s absence is met with melancholy. It’s use towards the end of the film is a little contradictory but still beautiful.
I was a little cagey about the age difference between the protagonists, especially when it claimed to be a romantic drama. However, the slow build up of their feelings leaves the relationship feeling authentic and sweet, rather than cheesy or lewd. They react to each other in ways that are believable and really show their conflict about what is developing. Despite their emotional baggage (and they both have plenty) they find something in each other that brings them joy.
The art work is beautiful. The movement and portrayal of time passing echos the loneliness of the characters and the highlights the beauty of their silence. Light and nature are so prominent that they act almost as a reflection of the characters rather than a plot device.
The musical score adds a richness to the silence of the characters and definitely contributes to the story. I don’t normally pay much attention to the music of a film, but this soundtrack was so vital to my understanding of the mood and feelings of the characters that I had to include it. Throughout the film the gentleness of the music not only mimics the rain but emphasizes the bittersweet quality of the characters relationship.
While this wasn’t my favorite anime film. It is one that I am truly glad I watched. It was beautiful.