Verdict: Suzume is a weird and wonderful road trip movie that packs an unexpected emotional punch.

  • Nanoka Hara, Eri Fukatsu
  • April 14th 2023
  • Makoto Shinkai

This Japanese animated movie follows a 17-year-old schoolgirl and a talking chair as they try to stop natural disasters across the country.

Following his critically acclaimed animes Your Name and Weathering with You, Makoto Shinkai now brings us his latest movie, Suzume.

This animated film tells the story of 17-year-old schoolgirl Suzume (voiced by Nanoka Hara), who comes across a mysterious door that seemingly serves no purpose.

She soon realises that isn’t the case when a thick red supernatural ‘worm’ bursts out of the door and starts to take over the skies of Japan, setting off earthquake warnings.

Nobody can see the threat in the skies except Suzume and a young man named Sōta (Hokuto Matsumura), who has inherited the responsibility of travelling across Japan and closing these mysterious doors, cutting off the worms before they can cause complete destruction.

After their initial encounter, Sōta is cursed and turned into a three-legged children’s chair (yep!) so he needs help closing these doors and stopping the natural disasters.

Suzume leaves home to protect Japan to join his mission and follow the cat that put the curse on Sōta in an effort to get it reversed.

Suzume is a delightful fantasy adventure. The concept and characters are quite strange on paper but they are easy to accept within the context of the story, which is absorbing, full of heart and often quite funny.

There is a deeper emotional level to the narrative too.

The journey helps Suzume make peace with and find a sense of closure following the death of a loved one and the climax could possibly move you to tears.

Unsurprisingly, the visuals are gorgeous and it was lovely to watch this beautiful animated journey throughout Japan.

Unfortunately, there is one huge moment in Tokyo that is ruined somewhat but an ugly piece of CGI in amongst the classic hand-drawn animation. The jarring CGI only made a brief appearance but it was distracting.

Suzume is a wonderful road trip movie that packs an unexpected emotional punch.

In cinemas from Friday 14th April.

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