The Tale of Princess Kaguya-Review

This Japanese animated film is a beautiful fairytale which harkens back to the classic Disney films of the 20th Century.

A poor bamboo farmer (this is Japan, remember) finds a tiny princess inside a shoot of bamboo and takes her home to his wife.

The princess magically returns to being a newborn and the farmer and his wife vow to raise her as their own and ensure she becomes a noble princess, fulfilling what they believe is her destiny.

Princess Kaguya. Studio Ghibli

Princess Kaguya. Studio Ghibli

The story that follows explores the conflict between social class and happiness.  The Tale of Princess Kaguya is set in historical Japan where society was heavily divided into social classes.

All the farmer wants in life is for the princess to marry and ascend into the aristocracy but all she wants is to play and laugh and behave like the child she is.

If all this sounds a tad heavy for a kid’s movie, don’t be put off. The Tale of Princess Kaguya is enjoyable throughout, thanks largely to the stunning hand drawn animation which looks like a series of beautiful watercolours strung together.

Kids will also find themselves drawn to the princess. Every kid can identify with the feeling of being forced to adhere to social conventions when all they want to do is have fun.

The film is directed by Isao Takahata who is 79 years old. Perhaps his age is why this feels like such a classic.


The Tale of Princess Kaguya is currently playing in the IFI

Watch the trailer here:

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