Princess Mononoke ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I kinda hate this, but I feel like I can't talk about this movie without talking about what other people think about it. It's a lot of people's favorite Ghibli movie, which I've always found a little frustrating. It's an amazing, beautiful film, but I think it find the top of a lot of "best Ghibli film" lists because it's about war and guns instead of cute witches or fuzzy forest creatures. I think for a lot of people that makes it more serious or real, which is odd compared to a film about coping with a mother in the hospital or the struggle of moving away from home to find your place in the world.

This is a movie about hate. Nearly everyone in the film is full of it. They direct their hate at the world around them and destroy it. Regrettably it resonated even more with me today than it did when I first saw it 18 years ago.

Somehow you end up rooting for all of them despite the unforgivable things they do. There's no "bad guy", just a lot of people that only care about themselves and the people closest to them. Ashitaka alone sees that this can't work, that they all have to give something up or they'll lose everything.

It's ultimately sort of grimly optimistic. Everyone avoids the much worse fate that they deserved, but the world is worse for their selfishness. It's a relief that things didn't work out much worse, but it's hard not to wonder if anyone really learned anything, if it won't all just happen again.

So yes, it is unforgivingly real. No more real than a young woman being crushed by self doubt as she struggles to fit in, though.

It is, of course, visually and aurally perfect, frequently charming, and crushingly, poetically beautiful.