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Grave of the Fireflies 1988

  • Isao Takahata
  • April 16, 1988
  • 89 mins
  • Japanese
  • Animation, War, Drama, Family
At 4 and 14, they tried to live on
In the latter part of World War II, a boy and his sister, orphaned when their mother is killed in the firebombing of Tokyo, are left to survive on their own in what remains of civilian life in Japan. The plot follows this boy and his sister as they do their best to survive in the Japanese countryside, battling hunger, prejudice, and pride in their own quiet, personal battle.


All 13 Comments

@majormercyflush I tried to watch it when I was already a father (my daughter should also be about 4 at the time), and I found it too painful and disturbing... I couldn't see it to the end.
I never ever felt so deeply moved by any movie.

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Watching a pair of children die may be a fantastic plot if you're trying to elicit a strong emotional response, but it doesn't necessarily make for a great movie.

If you read online reviews about this film, the very first paragraph is almost always about how this film utterly devastated the reviewer and left them in an ever-widening puddle of tears. Seriously. Read the comment section of Roger Ebert's review. It practically becomes a crying competition.

Yeah, we get it. 'Grave of the Fireflies' is sad. Unfortunately, that's almost all it is.

Call me heartless, but I quickly grew bored with Setsuko's seemingly infinite capacity for sobbing and whining. Never mind Seita's horrendously bad decision-making skills. And, yes, I appreciate that he's a kid, but the fact that Seita allowed his sister to die of starvation while there was still plenty of money available to buy food just ruined the entire movie for me. You can cite Japanese cultural differences all you like, but I don't think even this can justify Seita's unwillingness to get a job, or endure a snotty selfish aunt, or put his 4-year-old sister's dietary needs before his own.

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