All member reviews for Howl's Moving Castle

Common Sense Media says

Charming Miyazaki fairy tale with surreal villains.

Users say

(out of 105 reviews)
age 8+
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Parent Written bymyab October 27, 2010

Beautiful Images, Beautiful Story

A wonderful story about friendship, true love, and war. The heroine is cursed to look old, even though she's young (her outward appearance becomes what her inner self feels). The hero is a sorcerer tasked to work for the king in a war he doesn't approve of but must participate in. The intricacies and images of war (though not truly gory, just scary) is why I give it a 7+ rating. Ultimately, this movie is a love story, and not just between the h/h. It's also a story about learning to love yourself and the types of bonds that create a family (even if you aren't genetically linked). Lots of positive messages about forgiveness, acceptance, and simple human kindness. For me, this is one of my favorite stories of all time. Oh, and the kids love it, too!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 5, 6, and 9 year old Written bymama p July 18, 2010
beautiful and fits with the theme of most of Miyazaki's films: the portrayal of true innocent lustless love. For me this is always a refreshing break from Disney's portrayal of unrealistic cheesy romantic love and sexual innuendos...
Kid, 12 years old May 28, 2011

howls moving castle

i think that this movie is very good and i love to watch this!
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 5 year old Written byautumnfawn March 6, 2010
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 1, 4, 7, and 8 year old Written byashfaith April 9, 2008

A family fave

Our whole family loves this movie! Something to note is that you do see a naked bum of a self pitying man as he goes upstairs, with a girl walking up behind him, trying to look away...This was just something that I would've liked to know, so I thought I'd share!
Parent of a 8 year old Written byMamawolf83 February 5, 2014

Great movie for and older kid

I think 8 years old is a bit to young for this movie. Many sense in the movie can get very intence and ever scare young more sensitive children. There are a few scary images including howl bleeding and lossing feathers after a fight, a fire demon eating the girl hair and becoming a monster, and several war sence.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byStepMomSterToo January 11, 2011

Great for Kids

There is violence and "sorcery" but nothing a younger child would really understand. No gore, and while Howl as a bird might seem a little scary, still nothing to scare younger viewers away. Just know your child. A fun story with a sweet romance to it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written bytackyspoons April 9, 2008
Parent of a 8 and 10 year old Written byMattmchugh November 19, 2011

Beautiful, but a little baffling

Like all Miyazaki's movies, this is certainly a pleasure to look at. The exquisitely detailed anime-style art and the visual inventiveness will capture anyone's interest, and spellbind children. Whether or not the convoluted story will hold them is another thing. I always feel like I'm not getting something when I watch a Miyazaki film, as if something about its Japanese-ness just doesn't translate. My kids (8 and 10) seem to care less about that then I do, and they enjoyed it just fine. There's some creepy imagery (pursuit by black-blob creatures, an obese witch who seems to melt as she ages) and a hint of nudity (a woman looks away as a man's towel falls off), but nothing really upsetting. Mostly, if your kids are like me, they'll be fascinated and bewildered by this movie. Not such a bad thing. --mm
Teen, 13 years old Written byKryten40000 November 19, 2012

Animi at it's Best

A great movie. For kids 6 and Up. It talks about basic moral issues such as Accepting who you are. It is hardly Scary, yet some toddlers may be frightened by the Witches' "Blob Men". Never the less the movie is a great thing to watch.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written bypoe-ette November 26, 2011

To people with little kids:

There are some disturbing scenes. Howl in beast form is scary! The blob-men are scary! To me, the little dancing star peeps are creepy! The witch climbing up the stairs gives my 18 year old sister nightmares! don't get me wrong! this movie is AWESOME
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byconstaur November 21, 2011
Adult Written bytownsend April 9, 2008

Excellent message anti war

I am very careful what my 7 yr old twins/12yr old watch and after reading review thought this would be great...and it was! There is some mild war stuff, but the message is that war is bad..so Bravo! If your child loves fantasy/wizards/good people win over bad people and your are sick of the heavily advertised junk for the masses then you will love this movie. I give it an A plus.
Teen, 15 years old Written by99IsMyLuckyNumber December 29, 2011

NO. JUST NO.

GEEZ THE WAY HOWL WAS COVERED IN GREEN SLIME, AND THEN THE OLD LADY AND HOWL? NO NO NO NO, I CANT HELP BUT BE GROSSED OUT AND SERIOUSLY. EVERYTHING WAS UGLY SO MANY EVIL PEOPLE AND SJUST NOOOO......EWWW AND ALL THE KISSING AND THEY ALL HAD WHISKEY O_O
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old July 1, 2010

Good or bad?

Its a really nice movie! i saw it on cartoon network myself! He has a really good plot. Come see it now!
What other families should know
Great role models
Adult Written byDaveGulliksen April 9, 2008

A beautiful adaptation that needs repeated watching to understand

I’ve been a long-time fan of Miyazaki films since long before they started getting translated into English. My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service are two of the best animated films ever made. To my knowledge, Howl’s Moving Castle is the first time Miyazaki has used a book as the basis for one of his films instead of writing his own story. As it turns out, there are so many changes to the plot from book to film that they have little in common. People who have read the book may be disappointed that so much of the original story is omitted. Although the result holds up well on its own, details and motivations that were well defined in the book are lost on screen. I found that having read the book beforehand helped explain many events that happen in the film that would otherwise be unclear, but it also frustrated me that many of the changes seemed unnecessary and confusing. Whereas there has often been a love element in Miyazaki’s films, this one is the first to make it the main focus of the plot, and in that is its salvation. The main characters’ feelings come through beautifully and the rich artwork and attention to detail immerse you in the story. Emotions that were treated lightly in the book are more intense in the movie, and my wife and I were often moved to tears. Conversely, there were also many charming and humorous moments. Miyazaki made many surprising plot twists and even in the most serious moments the pace never bogged down. Billy Crystal was delightful as Calcifer the fire demon, a very pleasant surprise! I just watched the movie for the second time, and it showed me that much of what seemed confusing is simply subtle, so with each watching it all makes more sense. For instance, the heroine, Sophie, has been cursed and now is an old woman even though she actually is quite young. During the course of the movie, she is constantly changing back and forth to younger versions of herself (a departure from the book). This was quite confusing, especially to younger viewers. But there is an explanation, although it takes some thought to arrive at it. In fact, this is the MAJOR POINT of the story, key to understanding it fully! In the past, Miyazaki films were renown for their wonderful background music. Unfortunately, the last several have had lackluster theme music and Howl is no exception. So I emphasize that this is a movie that you need to see several times to get the complete picture. And that also ends up being a good deal of its charm, the mark of a well-made movie that operates on many levels. The answers to these questions are key to understanding the story and need some thought: 1) Why does Sophie leave her home when she is changed into an old woman? 2) Why does Sophie accept her transformation so easily? 3) What is the pattern to when Sophie transforms to become younger? Why does she able to do so? 4) What is Calcifer and why does Howl swallow him as a boy? (hint: What happens to Calcifer’s companions?) 5) Why does Calcifer obey Sophie and why does Calcifer say he needs Sophie, specifically, to give Howl back his heart? 6) Why was the Wicked Witch of the Waste chasing Howl?
Teen, 17 years old Written byAmy11111 August 27, 2015

Breathtaking.

I'm speechless. This film is truly touching the whole way through, clips you on at the start & then slowly draw's you in. I Couldn't take my eyes off of it. This is the first time I have seen it & it truly touches me. All so wonderful actors, I truly recommend that everyone watches it! It's got comedy,romance,sometimes scary. But truly touching & a wonderful to watch love it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old April 1, 2014
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator Written bySaskiwi August 9, 2013

Great anime classic

We loved this! Dreamy animation, steampunk Victorian elements, a feisty heroine and dishy hero...all this and Billy Crystal too! Still a family favourite in our house, many years after we first saw it.
Kid, 11 years old July 20, 2012

One of the best animations out there.

It is one of my favorite movies by Miyazaki and I really enjoy watching it with friends and family. Very touching story and it reminds me of the Chronicles of Christomanci. It's a really great film. :)
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence

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