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Parents' Guide to

Miss Hokusai

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Historical Japanese character study has mature content.

Movie PG-13 2016 93 minutes
Miss Hokusai 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?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

This beautifully animated and thought-provoking drama about a little-known pioneering female artist isn't quite kid-friendly but makes for a fascinating exploration of gender, art, and family. The animation is remarkably stylized, playing with light and color in the same manner as the art it depicts. An early scene of the sisters on a boat amidst the waves provides a clever reference to what's arguably their father's most famous painting. It's O-Ei and O-Nao's relationship, not O-Ei's with her father, that's the heart of Miss Hokusai. The moments in which O-Ei describes the sights and sounds of Edo to her sister and takes O-Nao to play in the snow with a local villager's son are far more touching than the scenes of O-Ei trading barbs with her father's male students and friends.

As a character study, Miss Hokusai delves into O-Ei's surroundings and relationships, including potential romantic connections. But the plot is relatively thin -- it's really more a series of vignettes than a cohesive three-act narrative, and it doesn't answer a lot of questions about the story's fantastical elements, or even what motivated Hokusai to act so indifferently toward his younger daughter. Still, the animation -- particularly when capturing flights of fancy, dreams, and the supernatural, is fantastic -- and the story is an interesting blend of comedy, family drama, and coming-of-age tale. While Miss Hokusai is too mature for younger kids, teens and adults who appreciate foreign animation will appreciate this historical biography.

Movie Details

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