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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Innocent tween romance is a major part of the story.
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No profanity, but characters are called "stupid" and "jerks" in the midst of arguments.
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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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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.