Whisper of the Heart Movie Poster Image

Whisper of the Heart



Sweet, romantic coming-of-age anime with strong role models.
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 111 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Hard work, drive, and determination are required to make your ambitions and aspirations come true. Even when the characters discover and work towards pursuing their passions, they learn that they must also devote time and effort to getting a well-rounded education. 

Positive role models

Shizuku is an obsessive reader; this helps to lead to her budding interest in becoming a writer. When she discovers this passion for writing, she focuses all of her energy to write the best story she can write. Seiji is also an avid reader, and is equally passionate in his desire to be a carver of violins. Both learn the importance of balancing these demands with the responsibilities of daily life. 

Not applicable

Innocent tween romance is a major part of the story.


No profanity, but characters are called "stupid" and "jerks" in the midst of arguments. 

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Shizuku's father lights up a cigarette in the middle of a discussion with his wife and daughter; his wife immediately asks him to put it out, which he does after taking a lengthy puff. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sweet, romantic coming-of-age anime explores universal themes of first love, awkward crushes, and discovering the life passions that will appeal to older tweens as well as teens and adults. Expect some mild insults and a single instance of adult smoking.

What's the story?

Shizuku Tsukishima is an avid reader, a daydreaming tween beginning to discover an interest in both writing and boys. She notices that a boy named Seiji Amasawa has checked out the exact same books from the library, before she has. She is determined to discover who this boy is, and her explorations take her to a curios shop, where she meets Seiji's grandfather, who inspires her to become a writer and tell her stories, as she learns and gets to know Seiji.

Is it any good?


WHISPER OF THE HEART is another beautiful work of art from Studio Ghibli with a screenplay from legendary Hayao Miyazaki. The lush, detailed scenery is enchanting, as is the storyline, in spite of a slow pace and seemingly unfocused beginning. Coming-of-age themes -- hobbies becoming passions, the daily dramas of school life and family life, and the awkwardness of first love -- are given realistic presentations that transcend the Tokyo setting.

Be warned, though -- it is a romance, and not the action-packed film some kids might be more partial to. For kids who find the "mushy-mushy, kissy-kissy" stuff boring or worthy of outright mockery, Whisper of the Heart is not for them. But for older kids going through similar experiences to what Shizuku and Seiji are going through -- as well as anyone who can enjoy the beauty revealed through the settings, Whisper of the Heart is a sweet, universal film. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about life in Tokyo for Shizuku, the similarities and differences between where and how she lives and where and how your family live. How is her school life, home life, and social life the same? How is it different? 

  • How is this movie similar to and different from American films about growing up, school, dating?

  • Kids: How do you balance your passions with your responsibilities?

Movie details

DVD/Streaming release date:March 7, 2006
Cast:Cary Elwes, Courtney Thorne-Smith, James B. Sikking
Director:Yoshifumi Kondo
Studio:Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Book characters, Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship, Great girl role models
Run time:111 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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Parent of a 6 and 9 year old Written byspringandrene November 8, 2013

Sweet, lovely, film with strong positive messages

A lovely sweet movie with the trademark Ghibli themes of fun, quirky humour, beautifully drawn and spoken little details, and positive messages all round. Our 9 year old daughter was entranced. Our 6 year also really enjoyed the film, although with a few "yuks" at the more romantic bits, which really go no further than holding hands in any case. One of the best Ghibli movies, and that is a real compliment.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old June 29, 2012

A lovely Film!

A cute little romantic film for the children to the teens! Shuzuku tells everyone to follow their dreams. The most romantic thing is when Seji "proposes" to her.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 8 year old Written byJeff75 January 19, 2015

Lovely movie with classic Ghibli themes and little fantasy scenes

Even if this movie is not as famous as other Studio Ghibli productions, it is well worth watching. The story and characters follow several classic Ghibli themes: how you grow up, the first love, the first doubts about yourself, how you relate to your parents and grand-parents, and special cats too! The movie has much less fantastic elements than better known Ghibli films, but the few fantasy sequences are excellent. There are several memorable scenes with true moments of grace, such as the improvised concert and the "walk" with the quite remarkable Baron Humbert von Gikkigen. There is a fine balance between humor and serious feelings during the whole story. Overall a lovely and consistent movie that charmed my 8-year old girl and me. Last remark about the very short smoking moment: it is there to underline the short moment of dismay that parents may have when the kid is going in the wrong direction but telling him/her may make things worse. It is clearly disapproved and acknowledged as bad by the smoker himself.
What other families should know
Great messages