The Boy and the Beast

Enchanting anime overflowing with imaginative energy and visual panache

Film Review by Ross McIndoe | 26 Feb 2016
Film title: The Boy and the Beast
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Starring: Kōji Yakusho, Aoi Miyazaki, Shōta Sometani
Release date: 7 Jul
Certificate: 12

The acclaimed director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Wolf Children, Mamoru Hosoda brings his vibrant world-building skills to the big screen once more with a film almost overflowing with imaginative energy and visual panache.

After losing his parents, nine-year-old Ren inadvertently embarks upon an Alice in Wonderland-style journey into the realm of beasts – colourful anthropomorphic animals with the ability to ascend into gods. Ren is quickly drawn into the city of Jutengai’s struggle to determine a new Lord and, after being taken on as apprentice by the boorish Kumatetsu, he is gradually able to assemble a new family and find a place for himself in the world. They seldom say a word to each other that isn’t furiously hollered, but Ren and Kumatetsu’s deepening relationship is as enchanting to watch as the film’s most extravagant visual set-pieces.

In its livelier moments The Boy and the Beast is bursting with intricately designed creatures and characters; in its quieter ones, it builds relationships between them that are sincerely sweet, with ruminations on family and childhood that delve deeper than the film’s fantastical surface might suggest.

The Boy and the Beast screened at Glasgow Film Festival.

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