Parents' Guide to

A Letter to Momo

By Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Offbeat but lovely subtitled story deals with child's grief.

Movie NR 2014 120 minutes
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A LETTER TO MOMO is a beautifully drawn animated film from Japan with English subtitles. In her new island home, Momo -- an independent, melancholy girl who's grieving both the death of her father and the life she knew in Tokyo -- finds a picture book with drawings of strange creatures, which aren't like anything you'd see in a mainstream American animated film. One looks like a goblin, another like a man or fairy, and the third like a wrestler with gold teeth and a permanent smile.

Fans of director Hiroyuki Okiura's Jin-Roh: Wolf Brigade will find something very different here. Momo is a quiet, funny film about loss and grief. Although it's set in modern times, the kids don't have cell phones or technology. They swim and ride bikes and help their parents. There's no pop culture, just old-fashioned living. Younger kids may have a hard time with the movie's slower pace and the subtitles, but it gets better and better until the final exciting scene, which includes an army of magical creatures and a typhoon.

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