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The Boy and the Heron – TIFF 2023

TIFF 2023 Review The Boy and the Heron
While 2013’s The Wind Rises made for a better swan song, this new film by Hayao Miyazaki is a reminder of the magical worlds he creates through his animation.

The Boy and the Heron – TIFF 2023

Runtime: 02:04
Synopsis:
Through encounters with his friends and uncle, follows a teenage boy’s psychological development. He enters a magical world with a talking grey heron after finding an abandoned tower in his new town.

A teenage boy is guided by a grey heron to search for his missing stepmother in . After previously losing his mother to a fire, Mahito Maki () travels to the countryside with his father Shoichi () to live with Shoichi's pregnant fiance Natsuko (). Mahito encounters a strange Grey Heron (), who ends up guiding Mahito into a strange mirror universe near a tower on the search for Natsuko, who goes missing one day.

The Boy and the Heron Synopsis

After supposedly retiring a decade ago with The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki returns to write and direct this new animated adventure. Initially intended as an adaptation of Genzaburo Yoshino's novel How Do You Live?, The Boy and the Heron ends up being a quite magic story reminiscent of Miyazaki's Oscar-winning 2001 film Spirited Away. This includes characters such as the titular Heron, whose true form is that of a big-nosed goblin, the fire-manipulating Himi (), and a gang of cannibalistic parakeets led by their king (Jun Kunimura).

My Thoughts on The Boy and the Heron

Hayao Miyazaki has always been the heart and soul of the Studio Ghibli animation studio and The Boy and the Heron is a reminder of the magical worlds Miyazaki is able to create through his animation. While arguably 2013's The Wind Rises made for a better swan song for Miyazaki, who at 83 shows no signs now of permanently retiring, The Boy and the Heron ends up being a great addition to a filmography that now spans over four decades in length.

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Trailer for The Boy and the Heron – TIFF 2023

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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