This film is the prequel to the film The Cat Returns. Even though The Cat Returns was a fantasy film and this was more of a drama the two are directly related. The Cat Returns is the screenplay that could have been written from the polished version of the story “Whisper of the Heart” that Shizuku Tsukishima writes in this film. This film is also an adaptation of the manga of the same name in English or in in Japan as Mimi o Sumaseba, “If You Listen Closely”. Any person that has seen either film should see both of them as you can see where the inspiration and the feeling came from.
While the film was produced at Studio Ghibli was the production company and written by Hayao Miyazaki it was actually directed by Yoshifumi Kondo. This was his first time in the director chair and unfortunately the only film that he directed for the studio as he soon passed away shortly after. The passion that he put into the film shows with each cell and scene of the film. While not as fast moving as other Studio Ghibli films it is still full of wonder and charm that we have come to expect from the films that they produce. This is one film that you do not want to have missing from your collection of Studio Ghibli films.
Shizuku Tsukishima like many other girls her age is getting ready to take her junior high school exams to find out what high school she can get into. She doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life but she loves to read and write lyrics for filk songs that she and her friends like to perform. One thing that has been worming its way into her heart is that of the seeds of wonder and love. Every time that she checks out a book it seems that Seiji Amasawa had already been a person who had read it. With so many books she is reading having been read by Seiji she wonders just what kind of person they are. Never in her wildest dreams did she think she would actually get to meet and interact with him. This picture in her mind is nothing like what she finally meets.
When the Shinzuku and Seiji meet for the first time sparks flew as she felt that he was nothing more then a jerk. She didn’t know that he was the one that she kept thinking about and as the clue started pointing to him it both excited and disgusted her. At every turn he was there to taunt her even when she followed an odd neighborhood cat Moon or also known as Muta to an antique shop above the library where her father Asako worked. It was there that she found a wonderfully crafted statue that was named The Baron or Baron Humbert von Giggingen. That was the full name that the old shop keeper Shiro Nishi gave to her when she asked more about it.
The statue of the cat fascinated her so much that she could not stop thinking about it or the mate to the statue that was never found. She dreamed about him and The Baroness constantly and could not get the two of them out of her head. She would site and make up stories in her head about how she thought the two might be. These daydreams and musings were later to be the fuel for the story that she was to write later in the film. It is also around this time that she found out just who Seiji really was.
Seiji is a teen with a mission, he wants to become a world class violin maker and is doing everything that he can to make that a reality. Just as Seiji and Shizuku start to develop a relationship he has to go away to try and prove that he has what it takes to become a master violin maker. It is also during that time that Shizuku decided to find out if she has what it takes to become a great writer. She wants to prove herself just as much as Seiji so that she can be worth of him.
The film is about how the love of two teens is able to come together when everything is working against them. It is also a film of self discovery as a young teen slowly becomes a woman that is both more confident and more in control of the talents that she has. This is one film that as the name of the film says will send a “Whisper of the Heart” that is sure to draw you in. This is a very vivid and wonderful look at the live of a young girl in Japan that is out to prove that she has what it takes to be both a writer and worth of the love of Seiji Amasawa.
I give this film a Musing review of