Howl’s Moving Castle is a movie that goes far beyond what one might expect of an animated film. It’s full of war and magic and curses and demons and so much action.
Young Sophie (Emily Mortimer) is an apprentice at a hat shop who feels like she is nothing special. While all the other women in the shop talk about how the wizard Howl steals the hearts of pretty girls Sophie feels she has nothing to fear.
While she walks from the hat shop to the bakery where one of her sisters works Sophie runs into some trouble with some soldiers. She is rescued by a stranger who gets her into even more trouble. Her sister says she should be thankful it wasn’t Howl because he would have stolen her heart. Once Sophie says he only takes the hearts of pretty girls her sister scolds her for putting herself down.
On her way back home Sophie meets the Witch of the Waste who puts a curse on her, turning her into Grandma Sophie (Jean Simmons)! Sophie does her best to hide this from everyone in the hat shop, including her mother, and eventually decides that her only hope is to venture into the Waste and try to find some way to break the curse.
She runs into a scarecrow she names Turnip Head and he helps her find somewhere to stay. Howl’s castle where she becomes the cleaning lady after becoming friends with the fire demon Calcifer (Billy Crystal) and Howl’s assistant Markl (Josh Hutcherson).
Not only does Sophie cause a bit of grief for Howl, but she keeps everyone on their toes. While she’s reserved as a young woman, when she’s turned into an elderly woman she’s not afraid of anything. With Howl’s help, Sophie gets into more trouble. Do they get out of trouble? Watch the movie to find out!
Heather: This is my personal favorite Miyazaki movie. Howl is a fantastic character with depth and emotion. Sometimes he acts like the proper wizard, and other times like a child. Sophie matches well and keeps him in line. How can I not love it?!