The Boy and the Beast
Directed by Mamoru Hosoda
Kyuta, a boy living in Shibuya, and Kumatetsu, a lonesome beast from Jutengai, an imaginary world. One day, Kyuta forays into the imaginary world and, as he's looking for his way back, meets Kumatetsu who becomes his spirit guide. That encounter leads them to many adventures.
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★★★★½ review by Daniel on Letterboxd
I laughed, I cried, I smiled.
The Boy and the Beast surpassed every single one of my expectations, I adored this film. This is an emotional roller-coaster of a film, I cared, but not only that I cried, three times. The characters and their relationships felt so genuine that when they were in their worst moments, I felt legitimately bad for them and when they were in their best I smiled. This movie explores topics such as friendship, family, not knowing where you belong, etc. It's shockingly mature and it was wonderful handled. The animation is stunning, the music is beautiful, the story is heartbreaking and mature, the characters are fully developed, it's just fantastic. Within thirty minutes I knew that I was going to love this film and I sure as hell did. I didn't expect to give this movie five stars, but it left such an impact on me that I just have to. See this movie.
★★★★ review by Kevin Clarke on Letterboxd
No other filmmaker working today mixes the fantastic with the mundane as well as Mamoru Hosoda.
★★★★ review by Haydn Elmore on Letterboxd
Sorry for the amount of high rattings. It's just I've been seeing some really great 2016 films before my long waited best and worst of 2016 lists.
The Boy and the Beast is one of the entertaining, heartbreaking, and quite fascinating films of 2016.
The story takes different turns that kept me invested into the picture for the entire 2 hours, the characters are well developed and you care about them, the animation is beautiful, there were moments where it's either funny or sad that's handled very well, and the themes of friendship, family, trust, and understanding your place is done to near perfection.
A few films to go before finalizing the list people.
★★★★ review by Leon Brill 👽 on Letterboxd
Incredible animation and a story with both heart and depth, The Boy and The Beast is a modern anime classic. And what initially feels like a film borrowing heavily from Spirited Away quickly grows into its own.
★★★★ review by Tom Morton on Letterboxd
Cult Movie Challenge #3: Anime Week
I've been a fan of Mamoru Hosoda ever since I saw Wolf Children at my local film festival a couple of years ago and found myself in floods of tears in a darkened room full of children. While his other films haven't quite lived up to the high standard that first experience set, I really enjoyed Summer Wars, and while I was slightly disappointed that I didn't really make an emotional connection with The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, I still liked it quite a bit.
The Boy and the Beast, Hosoda's most recent film, is the one that most reminded me of Wolf Children. In a way, it's a flipped version of the same story - while the fantastical protagonists of Wolf Children are raised in "our" world but feel drawn back to nature, Kyuta (the "Boy") is brought up in the mysterious world of beasts, but gradually starts to wonder about life back in the more mundane world he barely remembers.
It doesn't feel like a retread of Hosoda's earlier film, though; this is more of an odd-couple film than anything else, with the Boy and the Beast both finding a way to repair their broken souls through the things they learn from each other. The Beast takes on Kyuta as a student, hoping it will give him the edge when the beast world picks a new lord; Kyuta is estranged from his family and lacks a purpose in his life until a chance meeting gives him a new father figure and the opportunity to grow stronger.
The plot is a mix of unlikely friendships and training montages, expertly executed (apart from some clunky exposition-heavy dialogue early on) but nothing particularly exceptional. It's the visuals that really elevate the story to something special, from Kyuta's cute mouse (?) sidekick to the beautiful time-lapse-style fight sequence where we see the seasons change as Kyuta learns and grows. Both Boy and Beast are interesting characters to follow as they work together, but it's the world around them that really injects a little magic into the film.
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