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Parents' Guide to

In This Corner of the World

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Lovely, serious, slightly overlong anime about WWII Japan.

Movie PG-13 2017 129 minutes
In This Corner of the World Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (5 ):

Director Sunao Katabuchi's exploration of wartime Japan is simple and touching, if a bit too long and heavy for younger fans of animated films. Older moviegoers are more likely to fully appreciate the historical drama of In This Corner of the World. Suzu is a naive, optimistic, and easy-to-love protagonist who eagerly applies herself to her new role as a wife and daughter-in-law, taking care of Shusaku's family home, bonding with Harumi, and trying to impress Keiko, her sophisticated but cranky sister-in-law. Her romance with Shusaku is a slow burn, despite the fact that it begins with the couple's wedding. Shusaku and Suzu gradually grow to love each other, even when Suzu's childhood crush, Mizuhara, visits and offers to take her away. The newlyweds have a sweet bond, and Suzu is a joy to watch -- whether she's cooking for her new family, drawing with Harumi, or looking at various kinds of military ships with Shusaku.

As the date and title cards appear, viewers who know their history will begin to feel unease with the inevitable approach of August 1945. The air raids and bombings begin, and what starts with simple rationing ends in unimaginable suffering. But even grieving, Suzu doesn't completely lose her capacity for joy and love. The movie shows the "other side" of the war with Japan -- it doesn't cast the Japanese as villains, as so many other WWII-set movies do, but shows them as civilians, families, human beings struggling to survive. If only the movie had been edited down 20-30 minutes, it could have been even more effective. Still, despite the runtime, In This Corner of the World is a watchable, well-researched historical drama.

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