Howl’s Moving Castle is a
family-friendly animated film in anime style that is set in a futuristic
Victorian age full of wizardry. It’s a beautiful tale of breaking free
from one’s curses through love. While the fantasy nature of the movie is
far-fetched, you will grow close to the characters and relate to their
struggles, hopes, and fears.
The movie starts with a young woman
named Sophie who has a chance encounter with the great wizard Howl.
Shortly thereafter, she has an unfortunate visit from the Witch of the
Waste, who casts a curse which turns her into a very old woman. Sophie
then embarks on a journey to find a way out of her curse. She stumbles
across Howl’s moving castle, where she meets Calcifer (voiced by Billy
Crystal), the fire demon that runs the house due to a curse of his own
and contract with Howl. She also meets Markl, the boy apprentice of
Howl. And once again, she meets Howl, but now in her old woman state.
She takes on the role of castle cleaning lady and they allow her to live
It soon becomes evident that the
wizard Howl is living with a curse of his own. While Sophie is searching
for an answer to her own curse, she finds herself helping Howl and
Calcifer find a way from their curses as well. And let’s not forget how
love blooms between Sophie and Howl. He sees through her curse and she
sees through his.
The adventures endured by these
characters are relatable to the audience. The love story is reminiscent
of our own lives where we fall in love, and that allows us to see beyond
the curses, or unfortunate challenges, of a partner and within oneself.
We also all feel as though we have curses in our lives that if we could
just break free from, we’d achieve happiness. Often we look to others
to take away our curses, but (especially as women) we end up helping
others with their curses (or problems, trails, and challenges) instead
of merely focusing on our situation. This movie points out that it is
through this female ability to look beyond oneself and help others in
the midst of her own struggles, that she then finds the strength to
solve her own problems, too. It is debatable whether or not this is a
healthy message to send to young women, but without a doubt, it is a
realistic one.Sophie is the hero of this story, a
nice change of pace from Prince Charming. However, the message of seeing
through one another’s curses plays a very important role in the rescue.
This proves to be a powerful yet realistic statement.
This movie will take you on a
fantastical journey and lead you through an array of emotion that will
either broaden your perspective or bring comfort to your relatable
circumstances. It may be true that curses, wizardry, and a war-torn
country may not exist in our world in the way it is portrayed in the
movie. However, we do have these same events of unfortunate and limiting
circumstances, power to act upon our situations and help others through
love and compassion, and we are all affected by government, war, and
politics. I recommend you see Howl’s Moving Castle. Despite the
highly fictionalized setting, the character development is enthralling,
and the messages in the movie are empowering.