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The Anthem Of The Heart (2015) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Nagai Tatsuyuki (Director)
The Anthem Of The Heart (2015) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Silence is not golden
August 31, 2017 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
Once upon a time, there was a chatty little girl with a vivid imagination who saw her father leaving the "castle" on the hill with another woman. She tells her mom, not realizing the significance of her words, and her parents soon divorce. Both her dad and mom tell her that she's too much of a chatterbox, and so does the egg fairy that casts a curse on her so that she can no longer hurt with her words.

Produced by A-1 Pictures, the gentle animated drama Anthem of the Heart begins like a fairy tale, the kind with a dark undertone and a cautionary lesson for children. But this cruel fairy tale continues into adolescence for protagonist Naruse Jun. Every time she talks, her stomach begins to hurt, so she swallows all her words. However, even as she locks herself into silence, she also struggles to express herself. When Jun's homeroom teacher assigns her onto the steering committee for a class performance, she turns the dark fairy tale in her heart into a musical, and tries to sing what she cannot speak. Through the process of putting on a school musical, Jun tentatively grows and heals with the committee's other three students, who also carry unspoken burdens of their own.

Anthem of the Heart has many of the tried-and-true elements one can expect from a high school-set Japanese youth film about a ragtag group of students coming together to put on a play. The mid-section of the film moves slowly but pleasantly to lighten the mood and reveal the characters' personalities and backgrounds. Besides the usual appealing progression of fighting, friendship and crushes, the film has a lovely soundtrack to go with its stirring story and pretty animation.

The film's greatest strengths are the subtle, well-written supporting characters and the visual and thematic incorporation of magical elements into the realistic conflicts of struggling with childhood trauma, broken families, guilt, loneliness and miscommunication. Though there is an obvious shift to drama in the third act to usher in a turning point, Anthem of the Heart overall does a fine job of telling a small yet meaningful story, and effectively updates its fairy tale lesson by the end: Though words can hurt, silence can hurt even more.






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  • Region & Language: Hong Kong United States - English
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