[This is a re-post of my The Tale of Princess Kaguya review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The film opens today in limited release. Please note that this review is for the original Japanese-language version, so there is no critique of the English-language dubbing or the voice acting.]
Studio Ghibli’s films have always embraced the connection between nature and magic, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya continues this tradition in fine form. Writer-director Isao Takahata, who also co-founded Studio Ghibli, breaks from the company’s familiar animation style to venture into a sumi-e look that perfectly suits the story’s celebration of nature’s simplicity and magnificence. Although Kaguya does become slightly redundant in highlighting its heroine’s values before the film indulges in an abrupt revelation, Takahata and Ghibli have still found fresh life in their classic themes.