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Mirai Review: For a Child, Experience Becomes a Life Journey

What would you do if you suddenly saw your whole world turned upside down? How would you feel? How would you react? Could you learn to live with it or would you decide that you couldn’t? These are the questions a little boy is faced with in Mamoru Hosoda’s latest film “Mirai.”

The film begins with young Kun playing with his grandmother. We see that he likes to draw and has a keen interest in trains. Then his parents return home with his new baby sister, and that’s when his world seems to come crashing down. His once doting parents no longer seem to have time for him. To make matters worse he can’t connect with his new sister Mirai since she needs constant care. His boredom quickly grows into frustration which grows into contempt for Mirai. After getting into a fight with his mother, he runs into the family garden, where we get our first taste of magic in the film.

Kun meets his sister as a Teen, and his perspective starts to go through metamorphosis. But the most magical of these moments come not from meeting his sister as she will be one day, but by learning about his parents and great-grandparents as they once were. These moments slowly change his outlook on life as a brother. By becoming empathetic to the struggles of his family, he learns to get through his own emotional struggles and onto personal growth.

Hosoda’s style of animation gives the film a unique blend of mundanity and fantasy, as seen in his other films like “Summer Wars” and “The Boy and the Beast.” In it, we’re reminded that the greatest changes in life can come not from big moments but in little patches and roadblocks. And it’s not what we go through that changes us, but how we get through them. These lessons we learn along with Kun, and even from his sister, whose relationship with her brother in the future seems to have its own rough patches. It’s a film that reminds you of what early childhood was like, for better and for worse.

About the Author: Isaac Boorstin is a working actor in New York who has done many productions in film and theater. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and a native New Yorker, he enjoys going to museums, writing movie reviews, gaming and staying involved in local politics.