Date Showing Showing On 6, 8, 9 May
Time Showing Monday 6pm, Wednesday 4pm and Thursday 6pm


PG 2hrs 4mins
animation | 2023, Japan | English,Japanese

While the Second World War rages, the teenage Mahito, haunted by his mother's tragic death, is relocated from Tokyo to the serene rural home of his new stepmother Natsuko, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the boy's mother. As he tries to adjust, this strange new world grows even stranger following the appearance of a persistent gray heron, who perplexes and bedevils Mahito, dubbing him the "long-awaited one."


Mild fantasy themes and animated violence

Hayao Miyazaki
Original Review
Wendy Ide, Guardian & Luke Goodsell, ABC Arts
Extracted By
Ed Beswick
Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Watch The Trailer

THE BOY AND THE HERON | Official English Trailer

Storyline (warning: spoilers)

Hayao Miyazaki (revered Academy Award-winning director) came out of retirement at the age of 82 to make this film and its arguably one of his most personal yet. The Boy and the Heron is a semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death, and creation. It is a strikingly beautiful, densely detailed fantasy that revisits devices and themes from Miyazaki’s previous films and ties them together with elements that have a clear autobiographical resonance for the director.
The film centres on the experiences of a young boy named Mahito who ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead in search of his mother. The story is set in Japan during World War II where Mahito’s father is the boss of a factory that manufactures fighter planes. For a director who is preoccupied with the idea of flight, Miyazaki reveals an unexpectedly complicated relationship with birds in this film. In addition to the monstrous parakeets that eye Mahito greedily, there is also a flock of pelicans that feed on gentle floating creatures called the Warawara. Then there’s the heron, which soon loses its elegant avian form and morphs into one of Miyazaki’s less lovely creations - a wart encrusted, goblin-like henchman in service to an ageing wizard who has a connection to Mahito’s family. Ultimately, family, even scarred by loss, forms the central spine of this film, as it does in so many of Miyazaki’s movies.
The hand-drawn animations are visually sumptuous and take the audience on a thrilling journey that merges reality with illusory flights of fancy through Miyazaki’s psyche. Similarly, the lush orchestral score, by regular Miyazaki collaborator and long time composer Joe Hisaishi, is shimmering, exultant and underpins the key themes throughout the film. It’s a film that somehow plays as both a child’s heroic journey and an old man’s wistful goodbye at the same time - a dream-like vision that reasserts Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s voice and international relevance. It’s gorgeous, ruminative and mesmerising whilst also refusing to confirm to normal storytelling conventions. If this really is Miyazaki’s final word, then it’s a conclusion worthy of his masterful legacy.

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