GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (1988) MOVIE REVIEW

War movies depict a truly petrifying part of our history. They display the most ruthless side of human nature and show us the terrible consequences that are faced by the most innocent ones. Today’s movie is a brutal depiction of the awful consequences of war.


Grave of the Fireflies is an animated movie based on the novel by Akiyuki Nosaka and directed by Isao Takahata, starring Tsutomu Tatsumi and Ayano Shiraishi. It tells the story of two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, trying to survive in Japan during World War II.



First, I’d like to say that the story is depressive, because it tells the horrible events of the war from the perspective of the civilians, particularly two children. The movie starts with those siblings fleeing from the American air raids in World War II, after running away, they have to find a place to eat, sleep, and survive in these horrific conditions. The way the story is told is quite emotional since it shows the daily struggles of a big brother trying to take care of his little sister by both comforting and feeding her in spite of his endless hardships during the war. With every struggle, they are worn out more and get extremely exhausted. Furthermore, the film shows how humans help each other and work collaboratively as well as how selfish humans can be in trying times. The way the movie presents all these aspects to the viewers is astonishing as it doesn’t get boring even though it becomes slow-paced at times. Moreover, the characters are also impactful, representing deep and emotional parts of human nature by showing the audience how much they love and care about each other selflessly in times of endless difficulties.



Second, I’d like to talk about cinematography and music. In my opinion, the cinematography of this film is astonishing with its grim shots of hellish war-torn landscapes as well as serene country views. Thanks to the difference between these atmospheres, the viewer can sometimes find temporary peace even in a gloomy movie like this one. Another beautiful component is the soundtrack, featuring atmospheric and wonderful tracks and songs. The music perfectly fits the film’s general tone.



Overall, I can say that Grave of the Fireflies is an excellent animation movie with a poignant story, powerful storytelling, interesting characters, superb cinematography, and a good soundtrack. It shows the horrendous effects of war from one of the most effective perspective: the civilians POV. Grave of the Fireflies is a terrific war movie and definitely a must-watch for all film enthusiasts.


RATING: 9/10