Whisper of the Heart

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Whisper of the Heart Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Sweet, romantic coming-of-age anime with strong role models.
  • G
  • 2006
  • 111 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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. 


Innocent tween romance is a major part of the story.


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

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. 

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byHeather M. July 27, 2019
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... Continue reading
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... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byHg64 July 23, 2017

Love it every time!

This beautiful, romantic and cute Studio Ghibli masterpiece inspired me to write a book. The story is interesting and the animation is detailed and impressive.... Continue reading

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. 

Talk to your kids 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

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