(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Whisper of the Heart. Note: Doug keeps saying the title as "Whispers of the Heart")
Doug (vo): Whispers of the Heart doesn't get a lot of attention, but it probably should, because for what it is, it does it very well, a coming-of-age story about a girl learning about life and romance and growing up and parents and family and friends, all that stuff. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Haven't we seen this a million other times in a million other movies made for teenagers and tweens and they're always done awful and they're always super-sappy and cliched?" Well, while there are a few corny moments here or there, I think this is actually a very well done film that really addresses the age. I think it very much shows the battle going on with a lot of young people, between their passion and what they should most likely do with their lives.
Doug (vo): Our main character is named Shizuku. She's a bookworm who loves to write and discovers one day that all her favorite books are checked out by another person. She starts to daydream about who this person is, but then realizes it's a boy she can't stand. Overtime, of course, they both start to lower their defenses and they realize they actually really like each other. But that's only one part of the story. Another part involves her discovering this antique shop, where all sorts of statues and beautiful items give her ideas for stories. She befriends the owner and starts to find there's a real magic to the place, at least in a way that inspires her imagination, so much so that she's now determined to become a full-time writer, even at her young age. She tells her parents she wants to drop out of school and spend all her time trying to write her perfect story. The parents, respectful that she wants to choose her own path, perhaps even a little too respectful, allow her to leave for a bit so she can do exactly that. Yeah, some would argue not the best choice, but then again, she does obviously learn her lesson and...I don't know. It's a little controversial, but it's an interesting talking point. And once again, that's kind of a very simple story. We're just following her around, seeing what her life is like, as she herself is trying to figure out what her life is like. Where is she going? What does she want to do? What's her destiny? What's her calling? All that fun stuff that teenagers ask themselves a million times when they're younger.
Doug (vo): The film has a lot of charm and even a lot of drama, but as before, there's not a ton of story. So, again, if this is something that doesn't grab you, you can probably pick it up very quick. But I personally saw it as one of those annoying teen romp stories that were constantly advertised in America in the early 2000s and, hell, even nowadays, I'm sure, that's actually done right and done with respect to its main characters, and just young people in general. You kind of get sucked into her stories, you really enjoy her relationship with the man who owns the shop, you kind of hope in a strange way maybe her and the boyfriend can get together, even though they may not be perfect or maybe they are perfect, I don't know. It's young love, and that's the point of it.
[The scenes that are about to be mentioned here are shown]
Doug (vo): Even the corny scenes, I mean, like, the really corny scenes are still so damn likeable. There's a scene where they're trying to learn this American song ("Take Me Home, Country Roads"), and they're trying to learn it in English, which...yeah, is a little weird with an American dub, but I think you can still catch on with what they're doing. And as they're trying to sing the song, all of a sudden, all these guys are just getting back from a concert and they hear her singing, so what do they do? They all go down and they start playing with her. Oh, my God! This is so silly and hokey, but I can't help it! It's just so likeable! Maybe it's because the rest of the atmosphere of the film is just so down to Earth and so mellow, so that when something like this happens that is pretty cheesy, you kind of accept it because it doesn't happen that much in this film. A kind of corny moment can play okay as long as the rest of it is mostly grounded in reality. It doesn't go for too many obvious laughs or too many traditionally dramatic moments. It instead tries to capture that age when possibilities starts to meet the real world, when dreams can be dashed but when you discover that just means new ones can open up.
[The characters are shown]
Doug (vo): The voice acting, once again, is very nicely done. I heard the girls that were best friends in this were actually best friends in real-life, so they worked off each other much more naturally. They even got Cary Elwes for this one throwaway role that actually plays a bigger part in a later movie, but we'll get to that when we get to that. It's actually clever that they brought him in for just a few lines, but again, I can't say too much until we get to the later film.
[The film's ending sequences are shown]
Doug (vo): If I do have one problem with the film, it's that the ending is really sporadic, out of nowhere, and really fast. I mean, there's like no lead-in to the credits. It's, like, somebody says a line, and then suddenly, we're against these pretty buildings with a nice song playing with the credits rolling. There's no segue, there's no fade to black, there's no nothing. It just jumps straight to it. And, yeah, I kind of get the idea with the final line, it's puppy love, it's that age, it's all about falling in love at this certain point in time, and how you are, and you rush into things...it's still weird.
Doug (vo): But still, the rest of the film is really charming, really nice, really laidback. I feel it very much captures an age that isn't life or death, but rather just discovery, influence and making mistakes here and there. It's kind of all those things you want to see in those popular coming-of-age stories that are also kind of corny, but they're done right. It's soothing, it's enjoyable, and it's definitely worth checking out.
[The corny scene mentioned before is shown again]