April Story

April Story ★★★½

Thoroughly charming would be the most appropriate way to describe this straightforward story about the reserved Uzuki as she moves from the countryside to university in Tokyo and adjusts to her surroundings. It manages to capture those awkward feelings of apprehension and anticipation that everyone experiences when they're on the cusp of adulthood, still uncertain who they really are and what direction they want to go; being somewhere unfamilar amplifies every emotion, so comfort has to be found in the mundanity of everyday activities or the joy of aimlessly exploring. Shunji Iwai's compositions are filled with warm tones and natural beauty which gives every frame a gentle glow, while Takako Matsu exudes shyness in a manner which is very endearing in the lead role.

It's ultimately a touch too brief to offer a truly impactful insight and does get a little too saccharine at points, but it undoubtedly provides a picturesque snapshot of a difficult stage in life in a way that is widely relatable. It works quite effectively as far as that goes.

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