A Capsule Review
This latest film, Garden Of Words, from visionary animator Makoto Shinkai (5 Centimetres Per Second) is above all else, gorgeous to look at. Dubbed ‘eye porn’ by some, it is hard deny the quality of the imagery on display, and Shinkai’s use of all of the elements in a scene will not be new to fans of his back catalogue. Writing and Direction credits are applied to Shinkai here and it is very clear that he is indeed fostering a continued, now familiar artistic thread throughout all of his work.
Concentrating on a simple story of a fifteen-year-old boy that is studying to become a shoemaker who takes rainy days off school to spend in a Japanese garden outside the main central hubbub of the city in which he lives is a tempered affair of the heart.
On one of these showery mornings, his soul takes him to his usual spot in the gardens, where he makes the acquaintance of a quiet woman with a liking for beer and chocolate. She is quiet, pretty and whilst happy to talk, she is not initially keen to instigate a conversation, seemingly happy in her own company.
An uncomfortable friendship begins to blossom and we see the yearning to these two people have for one another through their own perspectives, as we follow the lives of these lost souls, both unknowingly yearning for some kind of connection with someone who understands them for who they are.
An innocent relationship is forged between the two without either of them knowing too much about the other. They never arrange to meet, making these fated moments a thrill for both of them, anticipating the possisble arrival of their companion on each rainy morning.
Beautiful to look at, Garden of Words is a lovely, albeit a brief 46 minutes long, microcosm of emotional confusion with a powerful climax that will surprise many with its ability to resonate. The script is a little goofy at times (I was viewing the English dubbed version, I’m informed the original Japanese version does not suffer from the same problems) but the voice acting is suitably on par. Altogether, a very rewarding experience for those happy of a particular artistic bent that will be likely to seek it out.