The Wind Rises Review: A Gorgeous, Touching Farewell For Miyazaki

Photo Credit:

Legendary animation director Hayao Miyazaki’s final film is a much more subtle fantasy than the other films he has directed over the past several decades.

But the feeling is no less effective when Jiro Horikoshi, the real-life engineer behind Japanese fighter planes in World War II, dreams of walking on the wing of his plane to when Chihiro first enters a spiritual world in Spirited Away.

Amazingly, Miyazaki has made a biography that instills the wonder of what it might have been like to watch various designs succeed or crash and burn. We follow Jiro from his childhood onward as he climbs to a lead designer of fighter planes for Japan and meets the love of his life along the way. If you’ve seen any of Miyazaki’s other films (and if you haven’t, I’m not sure why you’re here), you know of his love for aircraft, particularly in Porco Rosso. It makes sense that this celebration of them would be his final bow before retirement.

It also makes for the director’s most personal film. Through the storytelling and the animation you can see the amount of artistic passion being unapologetically poured into this movie. Miyazaki has never been one to hold back, but The Wind Rises is on another level. That’s when you come to the sad realization that this is the end of a legendary career.

The Wind Rises isn’t just a celebration of planes, however. Miyazaki equates himself to Jiro because he sees Jiro as an artist. This film isn’t just a biography, it’s a artist reflecting on his career. By the end, you’ll be so grateful for the life Miyazaki gets to live after his work is complete. You’ll also be grateful for the wonder and emotion this true artist has made you feel through his work.

If The Wind Rises is indeed Miyazaki’s swan song as he says it is, be grateful he wanted to share this personal story with you. This is a film made for the artist himself and the audience he so carefully carved out with his unique other works. It is a story of love, ambition, and appreciation. Not all will love it, but those who do will do so wholly and unapologetically. I find myself in the latter, marveling over this emotionally heavy work of art and saddened that is is the last. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *