I watched this yesterday, when I woke up during the wee hours. It’s by Hayao Miyazaki, one of my favourite directors and animators. It’s been on my mind ever since.
The protagonist Sophie is turned into an old woman by the Witch of the Waste. It’s one of the plot points that I really like. How does one deal with aging and growing old? Does it suddenly free you? Limit you? To wake up and to look in the mirror and see yourself, and not yourself, too.
I would like to imagine that I would deal with the situation just like Sophie did. First with shock (of course), then growing acceptance. She didn’t find wrinkles and imperfection repulsive. Sometimes she even saw it as an advantage:
A second admirable motif in this drama is that being old is not a terrible and unappealing fate. This is almost never seen in films made in the West where youth is worshipped and elders are treated as invisible men and women. After Sophie is transformed into an old woman, she is at first stunned by this staggering change in her appearance. But then she learns to relax into her new persona. This Sophie is an improved version of the youngster, who was shy, frightened of challenges, and lacking in both energy and self-confidence. Sophie, the elder, embarks on an adventure that takes her into a world far beyond anything she could have imagined before. (x)
I never liked looking in the mirror, and appearances are not something I’ve bothered with in a long time. I mean: I can’t recall when I started, but when I talk to and get to know someone, I see how they really are, on the inside. I have a vision of them that forms in my mind, kind of when I read books and feel that the characters in stories are real. Does that make sense? (Caveat: I do have moments of snark and meanness, I can’t deny that—but for the most part, I try to be a good person.)
Anyway, Howl’s Moving Castle is based on a book by Diana Wynne Jones. I’ve yet to read it, but the movie is really fantastic, and I urge you to see it. I want to introduce you the world of Miyazaki—he has such magical stories.
Good morning, M.