Howl's Moving Castle

by Hayao Miyazaki (Director)

DVD, 2015

Call number




Walt Disney Home Entertainment (2006)


A young woman named Sophie is cursed by the Witch of the Waste and is turned into an old woman who is unable to tell anyone of her plight. Unable to continue her job at her mother's hat shop, she goes to the ambulatory castle of the notorious wizard Howl and insinuates herself into his household. Sophie befriends Calcifer, the fire demon who powers the castle and who is bound to Howl by a contract, the terms of which Calcifer cannot reveal. They promise to help each other with their problems. Like Calcifer, Howl can also see through the Witch's spell, and he and Sophie fall in love. Sophie helps Howl confront his former teacher, and the Witch of the Waste.

User reviews

LibraryThing member librisissimo
Brilliant but I found some images problematic for young children.
LibraryThing member Lucky-Loki
A beautifully animated film which stays quite faithful to the book about two thirds of the way through, and then diverges rather a lot. These changes mostly make the film a more adult, but perhaps less subtle, tale than the novel, moving the external focus over to warfare rather than traiditonal
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fairy tale tropes, and the plot over to a more traditional romance rather than the internal growth of the protagonist and her influence on the title character. But that's not a problem in and of itself. My only real complaint is rather more specific: In a gorgeous movie with lovely animation that brings a huge sense of scale to what felt a relatively small and cosy book, the perhaps most memorable and epic character in the book (the fire demon Calcifer) is drawn as a cutesy and underwhelming critter, without any of the implied threat or pathos he possesses in the novel. This really steals a lot of the sense of danger and stakes out of otherwise faithfully adapted plots and sequences. That, and some minor trouble (for me personally, at least) following some character changes and behaviours towards the end, costs it half a star, but even so this remains one of my absolute favourites from Studio Ghibli.
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LibraryThing member librisissimo
Brilliant, but it takes a while to get the hang of the story, but the kids love it.
I found some images problematic for young children.
LibraryThing member Eurekas
I love this movie. I have watched it many times. The voices are perfect. The story is exciting and meaningful and the love story within it makes me happy. Both Howl and Sophie grow up within the story and truly discover what it means to be human.
LibraryThing member threadnsong
Even for a children's book, this one failed to move me. I get the simple language - that's what I found charming. What I didn't like one little bit was the string of insults Howl hurled at old Sophie. Yes, in the end, the loose ends are tied up, but continued phrases like Miss Nosey" coupled with
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Sophie's constant berating of herself as the eldest, and thus not in line to have any success in life, make me wonder what message Ms. Jones is giving to young boys and girls.

It started off as a good re-telling of fairy tales, explaining first-born and second-born, charms and apprenticeships, but then it falls off when Sophie gets stuck at Howl's castle.

Maybe there's something I'm missing here, but I truly wonder what it is."
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Academy Award (Nominee — Best Animated Feature — 2005)
Annie Award (Nominee — Best Animated Feature — 2005)
Japan Media Arts Festival Award (Animation — 2004)


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