Makoto Shinkai's Suzume explores a saga of trauma and grief, with a happy note - Hindustan Times

Exploring trauma and grief, Makoto Shinkai's Suzume delivers an emotionally impactful experience

By, Tuhin Das Mahapatra
Apr 21, 2023 12:20 PM IST

Makoto Shinkai's Suzume is out and is an engaging and intriguing movie that presents a creative and insightful take on the grieving process.

Suzume, which opened in U.S. theaters on April 14, 2023, returns to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011 and despite being termed a bit predictable, it is also being recognised as a fascinating portrayal of mature themes. As Suzume, the protagonist, grapples with grief, loneliness, and resentment from her responsibilities the film plot revolves around her attempt to prevent a catastrophic event, which acts as a metaphor for the lasting effects of a trauma.

Suzume, Makoto Shinkai's latest film has released in cinemas across the world(Image Credit: Toho CO. Ltd)
Suzume, Makoto Shinkai's latest film has released in cinemas across the world(Image Credit: Toho CO. Ltd)

Also Read: Makoto Shinkai’s latest anime film 'Suzume' reflects on perpetual danger and finding joy in a world of uncertainty

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In Shinkai’s latest film, Suzume, a teenage girl named Suzume (Nanoka Hara) discovers a door in an abandoned building that leads to earthquakes caused by a dimension worm. With the help of a college-aged boy, Souta, they close the door but learn that other doors are promptly opening, and they must close them to prevent mass destruction. Along the way, they face hurdles from a mysterious cat named Daijin and confront their own feelings of survivor’s guilt.

“I’ve picked very daily items like a door, a chair that is perhaps relatable to a wide range of audiences. This symbolism of the door, I think people are able to translate to their own saga,” Suzume Director, Makoto Shinkai told the Suzume fans. Shinkai who was recently in India to promote his new adventure with the Indian audience received a standing ovation.

Also Read: Meet the mastermind: Director Makoto Shinkai comes to India for Suzume premiere!

The three blockbusters that have been followed by the Japanese director, Makoto Shinkai -“Your Name”, “Weathering with You”, and now “Suzume” have tethered these movies with hugely emotional tales of natural disasters.

Shinkai with the help of his masterclass photorealistic cinematography creatively illustrates the importance of the grieving process and highlights untreated wounds that can fester over time. The prime example of this concept was the strained relationship between protagonist Suzume and her aunt Tamaki, voiced by Eri Fukastu. Despite her overall happy demeanor, she struggles with questioning why she survived and her mother did not.

Fans can't keep calm and stop themselves from praising Suzume's astonishing animation.

Hara’s portrayal of Suzume is convincing, and their clash reflects the shared pain between the two. The dialogue realistically conveys the growing rift between them, which led to a heartfelt scene that is one of the most memorable in Suzume. With this scene, Shinkai once again proved his class.

“…but even with this tragedy, I wanted to make a happy film. A film that gives you hope, makes you happy and I think I did that?” says Shinkai, claiming it took six months with the script.

The phenomenal works of Japanese director Makoto Shinkai are often compared to those of Hayao Miyazaki, but they differ significantly in style, theme, color pallet, and cinematography. While Miyazaki’s films often usher on life, war, and family through fantastical worlds, Shinkai’s films are more rooted in reality with fantastical and spiritual elements. His films also address current societal issues while acknowledging the unnaturalness of magical forces.

Also Read: Suzume's US Box Office debut disappoints - What went wrong for Makoto Shinkai's latest anime film?

“I will tell you my style when I start scripting, I start speaking out the line myself and see how it flows,” Shinkay says. “And when I sort out the lines in place then I we figure out how it comes about visually,” he adds.

Suzume is an engaging and intriguing movie that presents a creative and insightful take on the grieving process. With a talented cast, poignant soundtrack, and stunning animation, it delivers an emotionally impactful experience. Despite some minor issues like, CGI mesh with 2D animation, and repetitive plot-going from portal to portal, Suzume stands out as a remarkable film with its captivating plot and powerful performance.

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