maquia: when the promised flower blooms

DIRECTOR: mari okada (feature debut)
STARRING: manaka iwami, yuki kaji, tomokazu sugita, and ai kayano 

REVIEWER: hadassah devis

★★★★

An immortal girl and a normal boy form a bond which lasts through many years.

Maquia, a 15 year old Lorah - beautiful elflike beings who stop aging in their teens – finds herself alone in the mortal world when her home is invaded and her friends taken. Scared and alone, Maquia stumbles upon a baby boy whose parents have been killed and despite having been warned about loving mortals, adopts him as her own.

 

The story follows the relationship between the two as the child – Erial - grows up and Maquia remains in the body of a teenager. Their interaction and dynamics are ever changing and it is this relationship that that makes the movie stand out. It has the intimate undertones of a love story, but the love is between mother and child (not in a creepy way!), a inherently touching premise offering a unique, and beautiful look at what it means to be a mother.

 

And speaking of beautiful, the whole film is beeeeautiful. The story sees the characters move from place to place, and the artwork in each has been perfectly illustrated to create a certain feel. From the dream-like home of the Lorah, to the dark looming hallways of the castle, to the ruddy hues of the city streets. The colours and details are used expertly to play up the characters state of mind and set an emotive scene.
 

If I had to nit-pick, the only major flaw I could highlight was a lack of established direction which made the film feel lengthier than it was. A lot happened, but it was very much random, rather than tying in with an overarching goal or objective, so if you were distracted while watching (and I hope not if you watch it at the movies like you should!) I don’t think you would necessary feel the strong urge to go back and finish it.
 

That doesn’t mean don't watch it! If you love Japanese anime, don't mind a little cry in the cinema, and/or have kids of you own, then Maquia should definitely be on your to do list.

A visually beautiful and heart wrenching film, Maquia is a must watch for both anime fans and cinema goers alike.

★★★★

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