“Grave of The Fireflies” was beautiful, poignant and explored the effects of war on civilians in a way I’d never seen before. It is an important pacifist film; ironically though, it destroyed me.
Watch it only once. Do not watch it alone. Do not watch it if you’re uncomfortable with sobbing uncontrollably in front of loved ones. Do not show to children, EVER (you – you monster!). Do not recommend that others watch it unless you provide them with the previous caveats, otherwise you will lose those people as friends. This film is as harrowing as it is unforgettable, and they will hold you personally responsible for what it does to them.
Remember that bit in the animated “Animal Farm” where Boxer…is sent away?
Remember that bit in “Neverending Story” where Artax…got stuck in the swamp?
Remember that bit in “Watership Down” where the rabbits…were nothing like the ones in Beatrix Potter stories?
This movie is literally four hundred billion times more sad than all of those things combined and is much longer. Watch with extreme caution. Perhaps from within a little fort made of couch cushions and Kleenex boxes.
Or perhaps not at all. I watched this film not knowing what to expect. “Ooh, Studio Ghibli!” I said. “This will be interesting,” I said, like a damned fool, not imagining for a nanosecond that a cartoon, of all things, could possibly betray me so cold-heartedly. I will never watch this amazing, gorgeous, dispiriting film again. Men in my family have a history of heart trouble, you see.
Nonetheless, I award this film five stars. Five heartbroken little stars, endlessly weeping their twinkly tears into the cold vacuum of an unthinking, uncaring universe.
Reminder of this film’s existence provided by The AV Club