Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) - dir. Hayao Miyazaki

Holy sensory overload Batman! Howl’s Moving Castle is a strange film that is bursting at the seams in an effort to contain its massive plot structure and beautiful animation. The strange thing about HMC is that somehow it works… even on the first go ‘round. Repeated viewings are recommended and you’ll probably want to watch it again anyway.

It’s a terrific story about accepting who you are, but thrown over an equally beautiful (yet gargantuan) allegory in a steampunk world complete with unexplained magic, and some of Ghibli’s most interesting side characters. There’s really a lot going on here (if that’s not clear by now, then this isn’t the film for you). And it works. Not all of it works to perfection, but somehow by Miyazaki’s meticulous hand it all comes together.