Newest Review: ... are sent to live with their Aunt, but it becomes increasingly obvious that their Aunt does not want them, is only using them (taking th... more
Is this the saddest movie ever made?
Grave Of The Fireflies (DVD)
Member Name: thefifth
Grave Of The Fireflies (DVD)
Advantages: Brilliantly emotive story, gorgeous animation
Disadvantages: Cry cry cry, sad sad sad
I feel someone ought to warn people about Grave of the Fireflies. Perhaps that someone is me. I'm an avid fan of Studio Ghibli movies, I love their quirkiness, the strong female characters, obsession with magical realism (and sometimes just plain magic) and excellent animation. So in eager anticipation my son and I sat down to watch Grave of the Fireflies oh poor unsuspecting fools as we were.
Grave of the Fireflies follows a brother and sister, Seita and Setsuko, during World War II. Their father is in the navy and hasn't been heard from in some time, though they seem sure he's coming home, and at the beginning of the movie their mother is killed in a bombing of their town. Seita and Setsuko are sent to live with their Aunt, but it becomes increasingly obvious that their Aunt does not want them, is only using them (taking their rice ration and selling their mother's things) and she treats them badly. Eventually Seita, the older of the two, decides that they would be better off on their own. He finds an old abandoned shelter near a pond, takes his sister and moves in. On the first night they release fireflies into the shelter for light, but in the morning all the fireflies have died. Little Sestuko finds it hard to understand why the fireflies had to die (cry cry cry).
The movie then follows their struggle to survive, and the bond that is between the brother and sister strengthens as the children weaken. Seita resorts to stealing to keep them in food, but it soon becomes apparent that his little sister's health is failing. He takes her to a doctor who diagnoses malnutrition. In order to try and save Setsuko, Seita withdraws all their money from the bank and in the process discovers that Japan has surrendered. The war is over.
He returns to the shelter, thoroughly disillusioned but with arm fulls of food, to find his sister delirious and dying. Unable to eat the food Seita has brought for her, Setsuko passes away (cry cry cry). Seita manages to cremate Setsuko's body, and later we find that Seita himself also dies from malnutrition, alone and missing his sister, in a Tokyo railway station (cry cry cry).
I am not a person who is easily upset by movies. It's a rare event that something touches me to the point that it actually moves me to tears. This movie moved me to an abundance of tears. The bond, the care and love between Seita and Setsuko is so pure and so moving, and their attempts to care for each other so heartfelt and fruitless. I think both my son and I cried for a good 10 minutes after the movie had finished and we're both so emotionally scarred we haven't watched it since.
In all seriousness, this is an excellent movie. The animation, as always, is beautiful and the lovely way that Seita and Setsuko are presented is so moving and emotional. It is a worthwhile watch, but not for the faint hearted and I woudn't recommend watching it wthout a box of tissues on hand and a bottle of vodka to get you through the subsequent emotional trauma. Not all all the usual Ghibli fayre, but amazing all the same.
Summary: Why did they have to die?