Studio Ghibli is known for its whimsical fantasy movies, featuring fantastic creatures (literally) and colorful characters.
But the studio is also really good at producing calm, slice-of-life films featuring nothing other than regular human beings.
Kokuriko-zaka Kara (From Up on Poppy Hill) is such a movie, following the lives of high schoolers in 1968 Yokohama, Japan, who are trying to save their run-down and decrepit club house from demolition while dealing with personal problems in the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War.
Even without the signature, supernatural Studio Ghibli elements, this movie is a masterpiece. At times sad, at times hilarious, with characters that are very much all real people. Even without complicated backstories, it is easy to connect with them, and you can’t help but root for the main characters as the story progresses.
On top of that, you get to see a Yokohama from a not so faraway past.
If you are into melancholic and nostalgic slow-burn movies with a healthy dose of humor, definitely check this out.
If you are prone to cry at movies, keep a handkerchief nearby, because this one can be a bit of a tearjerker at times.