A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Never give up on your dreams. If you give yourself over to your dreams, with hard work, discipline, ambition, and dedication, they can come true. Work shouldn't be your only outlet. To work hard, you should also have people you love to come home to, or your life won't have any balance or beauty. You need people to share your dreams with -- both in a professional and a personal manner. The movie is also a big plug for engineers: "Engineers turn dreams into reality," a famous aeronautical engineer tells the main character.
Positive Role Models
After realizing he can't become a pilot, Jiro dedicates himself to becoming an aeronautical engineer and the beauty of airplanes, though he knows abstractly that his designs may be used for war. As a young kid, he stop boys from bullying others, and eventually grows into a man of honor and integrity. Jiro's fiancée Naoko is loving and supportive, despite her poor health.
The film is inspired by a real-life Japanese figure, Jiro Horikoshi, who may not be well-known outside of Japan, and features historical events told from a Japanese perspective. Although Naoko plays an important part in Jiro's life, she and other female characters primarily exist in supporting roles.
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Violence & Scariness
Scary scenes of an earthquake taking a train off course and causing mass destruction and loss of life. A fire sweeps through the country and also wreaks havoc on the land and people. People are injured, weep, and cry (especially kids) for help. It's clear that the planes are used in war to drop bombs. Planes crash during testing. An important character dies of tuberculosis (off camera).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jiro falls in love, holds hands with, kisses, and marries Naoko. They get under covers together and embrace, implying that they make love.
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Infrequent exclamations and insults: "stupid," "idiot," "damn," "mackerel," and "married to an airplane."
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Products & Purchases
Mitsubishi is mentioned as one of the rival companies to make war planes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main characters and friends smoke -- including in the presence of an ailing person -- and often ask for cigarettes and discuss the differences between Japanese and German brands.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the Oscar-nominated drama The Wind Rises was reported to be anime legend Hayao Miyazaki's final feature-length film, until it was announced in 2021 that he would come out of retirement for a new project. The movie poignantly chronicles the life of Jiro (voiced by Hideaki Anno in the original version and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the English dub), a famous Japanese engineer who was responsible for designing the infamous zero bomber. Jiro repeatedly demonstrates his integrity and perseverance as he struggles with many external and internal conflicts. Because of the historical setting, real-life disasters and catastrophes are depicted in the movie, like the Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and World War II. There's also an upsetting subplot about the engineer's beloved, who suffers from tuberculosis, and many, many scenes of men smoking cigarettes. Because of the themes and the mature subject matter, this is an animated film best for inquisitive older kids and teens. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Visually, this is a gorgeous film. The Wind Rises doesn't include any mythical creatures or fantastical worlds; it's all Japan, the sky, the fields, the wind, and the beautiful planes of Jiro's dreams. This is a contemplative tale that requires a patient audience. Young kids used to high-octane adventures may not be ready for this introspective tribute to a visionary man, who may have known in the abstract that his designs would one day be used in war but who really just wanted to make his dreams a reality.
The second half of the film features a heartbreaking romance between Jiro and the now grown-up girl he once ushered to safety during the 1923 earthquake. Naoko (Miori Takimoto/Emily Blunt) is herself an artist who loves landscapes. They long to marry, but Naoko suffers from tuberculosis, a disease even the brilliant Jiro can't troubleshoot. Their scenes together are romantic but also devastatingly sad -- like when he spends a night finishing blueprints with one hand firmly grasping his ill young wife's hand. The storyline isn't exactly a nail-biter, but this is a quietly powerful movie about what it takes to have a singular vision and dedicate your life to it; a tale of a genius, one can only assume, much like Miyazaki himself.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.