top of page


A frustrating second act almost completely derails Suzume, but the picture bounces back poignantly to tackle Japan's at times destructive dance with forces of nature.

I was as big a fan of 2016's exquisite anime Your Name as I was a detractor of its convoluted follow-up Weathering With You. So where does Makoto Shinkai's latest film, Suzume, land? Somewhere smack in the middle, it turns out.

The picture comes out of the gates strongly, as it waits no time to intruduce the titular character, a highschool girl who becomes entangled with a mysterious stranger, tasked with closing doors to others worlds that perpetually threathen to destroy Japanese cities.

What follows, for almost the entire second act, is a frustratingly unfocused tale though. Shinkai cobbles together ideas from other, better movies - most noticably Howl's Moving Castle and even name-checking Whisper of the Heart - and moulds them into a ragged narrative that struggles for coherence in tone, animation style and message.

It is a bit of a miracle then that Suzume does find its footing again in a poignant final twenty minutes. Here the seemingly scattershot approach of Shinkai does coalesce into a beautiful message, inspired by the Fukushima tsunami of 2011 that confronted Japan - not for the first time, and probably not for the last - with a legacy of destruction and rebirth.

release: 2022

director: Makoto Shinkai

starring: Nanoka Hara, Hokuto Matsumura, Eri Fukatsu, Shôta Sometani


bottom of page