All member reviews for Grave of the Fireflies

Common Sense Media says

Japanimation WWII tragedy the saddest. Cartoon. Ever.

Users say

(out of 31 reviews)
age 11+
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Teen, 16 years old Written bySamurai 2.0 May 6, 2011

Sad, graphic family film.

Keep a tissue box next to you. It's likely you will be brought to tears by this film. It includes death and bombings, and both are the main tear jerkers. Young kids shouldn't watch it alone, despite my review. Watch it as a family. Discuss the issues of these vicious attacks. You will be moved after watching this film, or I will pay you my entire college fund, saved up since I was five.
Kid, 12 years old December 23, 2010

*sniffles* definately most saddest movie. EVER.

It is the most depressing, saddest movie. I almost cried (i never cry in movies) My mom burst in HUGE tears just when the mom got bombed. My sis was just playing nintendo, so i cant decide for her. In the story, both main characters die. The boy in the beginning is him... It is very sad, and touching at the same time (i will never look at the fact WE bombed 'em) *sniffles* I'm definately not gonnna watch THAT again. *clicks "delete" from netflix* parents be warned, this is very sad. Best to watch in late tweens and up......*sniffles*
Teen, 17 years old Written byToBreakFate December 4, 2010

soooo sad

it was sooo good and i cried very, very hard by the end.
Teen, 17 years old Written bySeth S. March 8, 2014

Animation telling a story like you've never seen before:

To be completely transparent, I can't say that I "enjoyed" watching Grave of the Fireflies. The first line in the movie spells out exactly what's going to happen. In World War II Japan, two gentle, sweet, and loving siblings are going to wind up dead. There isn't a second of hopeful yearning in the movie. We dread the eventual outcome from the very first scene. So, as I said, I didn't particularly enjoy myself while watching this movie. But there are some times when you don't watch a movie to be entertained. There are times when you watch a movie because it tells a story entirely worth telling. There are times when you appreciate a movie for every reason other than enjoyment. Grave of the Fireflies is just such a movie. There's no real need to get into the story. I've already explained all you really need to know. What makes the movie so brilliant is how incredibly well made it is. How unexpected it is. How heartbreakingly beautiful it is. It's like 90 minutes of "lows." Usually, a film travels through highs and lows, sometimes from scene to scene. Grave of the Fireflies can't help but exist in a state of constant dread. Sure there are joyful scenes, in fact, there are quite a few of them. But every time we're shown a scene of Seita and Setsuko being what they are, cheerful young children, we know that they will, eventually, die. There's no spoiler in writing that last sentence. Still, the movie does have it's moments of light. The film shows Seita and Setsuko living out substantial days ... pleasurable days. But at the end of the road, we know exactly where our two main characters will wind up. This makes every other scene that much more tragic. It's incredibly done. Rarely do you see a movie deliver a message as powerfully as Grave of the Fireflies manages to deliver its own. The film shows a side of war that we never think of. Nowadays, next to no one in America is remotely proud of the fact that we spent parts of 1944 and 1945 dropping incendiary bombs on Japan. We aren't too fond of that fact, but then again, we don't really think about it much. Grave of the Fireflies shows you a snippet of that pain and suffering, and in its 90 minute run-time, sends an irrefutable antiwar message. But this isn't like a Miyazaki movie message. It isn't some fantasy world where the character tell us why war is so horrible. In fact, in Grave of the Fireflies, the filmmakers' never once utter an antiwar statement. But the film doesn't have to. It just shows us, with every frame, that war is undeniably awful. And it does all this without ever pulling back from its core story. We never have to see the "big picture." The movie never shows us anything other than the story of our two main characters. And yet, the film is still able to be one of the most devastating war films ever. Because we know that Seita and Setsuko aren't the only young people in war-time to have gone through something as appalling. This movie does a cataclysmic job of reminding audiences of something they don't often/choose not to think about. The two main characters are just a bit too upbeat to be true. That's one of my few nitpicks with this movie. Seita never breaks from being a perfectly pleasant young man. He tragically gentle and kind. Setsuko does have moments that remind us that she's still a 4 year old. But for the most part, she is uncommonly happy. Still, it's only the slightest of flaws. The animation isn't anything surprising or groundbreaking, per se. It is really touching and beautiful on multiple occasions. It's a movie about unspeakable tragedy that is as moving as you would expect it to be. The animation, like the movie, is very subtle and very lovely. It's odd, because the movie is set absolutely in the real world, but it does have moments that are strangely magical. It can't really be described, it has to be experienced. Grave of the Fireflies does something that is absolutely never seen in the animation genre. It is a film that is in no way suitable for children. It's a story where every member of a tender-hearted family winds up dead. It's a movie where grief and tragedy are seamlessly intermingled with beauty and kindness. I can't say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself while watching this film. And if I were to rate this film on entertainment value, it probably wouldn't score higher than a 7.5/10. But this movie exists on a different level. It's a film that boasts a higher calling than to simply entertain you. With that in mind, it deserves nothing less than a perfect score. "Why must fireflies die so young?" 10/10
Kid, 10 years old June 16, 2012

Awesome movie!!!

The second best movie ever. I saw this when I was ten and I got a little frightened when they showed the bandaged mother, but that depends on your children. Words like , h3ll and D&mn are included in the movie. A solid 10 or a soft 12 would be a good age. Great movie! WARNING!: THIS MOVIE (no matter what age or gender), WILL BRING YOU TO TEARS! (especial in the end!)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written bywhiskeytango September 29, 2011

This the best war movie ever made. I don't mean that in the usual way.

This is not a happy film at all. But it's one that children absolutely must see. The beauty of Grave of the Fireflies is that it drives home the human cost of seemingly far-away wars. This is a film about the ones left behind, and it's the saddest and loveliest anti-war message I've yet to see. It's a story of people like everyone, just children, doing the things that children do in response to wartime poverty and parents stolen from them and society turning its back. I saw this for the first time when I was twelve. I wish that every child could see it then, and could have parents that discussed the movie with them. Grave of the Fireflies is not light fare, but it is exactly the sort of fare that children understand viscerally and can relate to. This is a very important movie, and when my children are old enough, I will watch it with them and talk about the implications. That is the highest compliment I can give a film. This one deserves it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 10 years old February 10, 2016

Good, Sad, and Slow-Paced

Sad and emotional movie is not for everyone. Seita and Setsuko's mother and father die, and they die too. Seita cremates Setsuko, and Seita gets beaten. Seita and Setsuko's aunt is cruel and doesn't feed them enough food because they don't work, even though their school burnt down and they can't get jobs. Seita and Setsuko's mother is bloody when her corpse is shown. "Damn", Dammit", and "Hell" are used a few times. It is a great movie, and you will cry. A bit slow paced, although that doesn't really matter.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written bychinchillaboy26 December 10, 2012

Beautiful, poignant film--but potentially traumatic and extremely depressing

I marked "pause" for kids ten and under. If you are showing this to a ten-year-old, he or she had better be a VERY mature ten-year-old. This is not Finding Nemo, to say the least. I am sixteen, and I first viewed this film not long after turning sixteen. It moved me to tears. I truly cannot express the horror this movie will invoke in you. It left me very shaky and upset the rest of the day. As Roger Ebert notes, this is a film so powerful it demands a rethinking of animation. It's not your typical Western animated film, or even your typical anime film. It's important to know your kids can take this movie. I'd say if they can handle Bridge to Terabithia they could handle this, but just make absolute sure they are ready--perhaps give them a briefing about WWII and what took place in Japan at the time. As to the actual movie? I can't say I'm sorry I watched it. The film moves along at a reflective pace, unfeelingly documenting the cruel, tragically brief lives of the two main characters. It often lingers on details, just a character standing in silence or a girl crying on the ground. It doesn't say anything; it doesn't have to. Needless to say, this movie is very upsetting but it is a movie that everyone should see at some point. On an unrelated note, Setsuko's English voice actor is abysmal, and I could hardly take the annoyance her voice invokes. Next time I will watch it in Japanese with English subtitles.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byshojofreak220 May 31, 2010

SO SAD!!!

I bought this movie at Chinatown having NO IDEA how sad it was. It was wonderful, but so sad! My mom says it's a great movie, and my sister(who's eight) was so happy during the show, even at the end, but I think I'll never watch it again because it's so sad.
Kid, 12 years old November 25, 2014

tear-jerking

this is an extremely powerful story that is almost certainly going to make any one of any age cry. you should definitely watch it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byYomimaru May 8, 2012

Beautiful, Depressing Masterpiece of Emotion

I have to say, when I first saw this movie I cried. My friend, who told me to watch it when I was younger, was correct when she said it was a realistic masterpiece complete with a tear-jerking story line and beautiful art. I would definetely not recommend it for any kid who doesn't know of war, death, and the effects that it has on children. Definetely not for kids under 9 or 10, but it depends on the maturity of your child. After all, it even makes my own parents cry like kids.
Teen, 15 years old Written byAdept August 20, 2010

A story of brotherly love

Isao Takahata's masterpiece hasn't recieved as much attention as it deserves. The animation is beautiful, and touching. Possibly the saddest cartoon ever made, but certainly one of the best. While the story is sad, (it starts with the death of Seita, the brother,) it's also beautiful. Because it's so sad, I'd reccomend it for kids twelve and up. The story will stay with you forever-- this is one you cannot miss.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old December 3, 2011

sad but real view on war

this is truly the saddest film i have ever seen, but it is still a brillant one, it shows the awfulness that war causes, the fact is, the film is based of a true story, when i first watched this, i was 11 and cried, i got rid of the video, recently i bought the dvd and although it was still sad, it was a great film, i rate it on for 12 and up
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written bySir Darry Koenig March 16, 2015

Best Animated Film, But Very Sad & Briefly Graphic

This is a great film to watch as a family. It is definitely a sad experience. The good thing about watching this as a family is you get to show your child(ren) how to appreciate life and how to make the most of it. If you have multiple children, you can also watch this film with them to show that there will be a time in their life where they only have each other and no one else and they should always be together and learn how to resolve problems together. That's why I think that is is best to watch this as a family with older kids like 8+. The film doesn't have anything too disturbing other than the part where the mother is seen graphically about to die covered in bandages and all bloody which is why I put this film as iffy for 9 and younger. But this is definitely a film that should be watched at one point in someone's life.
What other families should know
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Kid, 11 years old November 9, 2015

a movie that can make a man sob.

I have to say, i sobbed and sobbed after i watched it with my mom and dad. my dad cried and cried at the end. Its the best animation that studio Ghibli has ever done...they really nail it on the movements of little children. so anyways its one of those must see movies. if you don't cry at the end of this movie you have no heart!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Kid, 12 years old November 22, 2014

Amazing

I have watched this movie so many times and each is better than the rest, I would say there is one part that makes me jump that I wouldn't show little kids, but if they do see it it's not going to really scare them. It is about the war, and its really sad but I would say you should defiantly watch this movie
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byRandomReviewer97 October 23, 2012

A movie for everyone to watch, think about, and pass-on.

During one of Hayao Miyazaki's interviews, he said that "Adults and movie critics mis-interpret the meaning and purpose of his movies. It is the younger children that understand what it is all about." With this being said, I cannot say that it is for a certain restricted age group. I do believe that everyone should see this, it's more about the survival of two children than centering around the war itself. It is how they have only 3 things in mind. To get food, to find shelter, and to be clean.The characters never mention the US as the bombers, they only refer to them as 'The Enemy'. There are even parts in the movie that are just focused on the everyday beauty of life like washing your face, or just playing.Together, with Miyazaki's unique storytelling and detailed animation brings a disturbing, real, and beautiful tale that is based off of a true story. You may cry, and you may not. It is solely up to you.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old November 27, 2013

Better than toy story.

This is one of the best, most underrated, films ever made, animated or not. Hayao Miyazaki's films are always even better than Pixar, but this is his best. While you should wait until you're kid is 12 or 13 to see this, That is the perfect time to show them this because it will turn them from the stereotypical, spoiled kid they probably are into a kid who is 9 times smarter. However, to do this, it shatters you in pieces (It's that sad...) but don't worry, they aren't babies anymore and everyone needs to see this or they won't be as smart.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Teen, 15 years old Written bycclove97 May 30, 2012

Great Movie

When we first watched this in history class, I had no idea how sad and brillant it was going to be. It captured the attention of my entire class and had all of the girls (and even some guys!) in tears, especially at the end. However, I believe that it was worth watching and changed my life forever. There were some violent and gory scenes, and i would say it was the saddest cartoon I've ever seen. A must-see for anyone 12 and over.
Kid, 12 years old November 22, 2010

Saddest Anime Ever

The Grave of the Fireflies is the saddest movie I have ever seen. Many characters die in it, and there are a few graphic scenes. One scene in particular is very graphic and shows a bloody, bandaged body with flies buzzing around it. But if you can look past the sad parts, you will see a wonderful movie with great animation. I would recommend this movie to any anime lover who is 13 or older.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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