What You Need To Know:
FROM UP ON POPPY HILL is funny and endearing, but it’s also very light. In addition, there’s nothing particularly morally or spiritually uplifting about the movie. It’s just a light romantic comedy with some quirky drama. The two teenagers turn out not to be related by blood. This gives FROM UP ON POPPY HILL a happy ending of sorts.
(Ro, Cap, B, V, A, D, M) Light Romantic worldview about a budding teenage romance, set in Japan in 1964, with a friendly capitalist who makes a decision to save a school’s rundown clubhouse, plus a positive view of adoption; no foul language; light comic violence such as teenager stunt dives into small pool from building; no sex, but hints of possible adultery and unwed pregnancy, but baby turned out to be an orphan whose parents died while baby was an infant, and teenage couple may be related and can’t continue romance, but it turns out they aren’t really related; no nudity; brief alcohol use; brief smoking; and, school rivalry.
FROM UP ON POPPY HILL is a dubbed Japanese animation or anime from Studio Ghibli’s most famous artist, Hayao Miyazaki, and his son, Goro. It’s a comical tale about young love set in 1964 before the Tokyo Olympics.
The movie opens with 16-year-old Umi serving breakfast to the people of her mother’s boarding house while her mother, a medical professor, studies in the United States. Each morning Umi raises some signal flags praying for safe voyage for the ships in the harbor, in honor of her father, who died in the Korean War.
Shun, a boy at Umi’s high school, sees her raise the flags, and he writes a poem about it in the school’s student newspaper, which he edits. Shun performs a stunt to promote the paper, and Umi’s younger sister, Sora, decides she wants his autograph. So, Umi accompanies her sister to the dilapidated school clubhouse to get Shun’s autograph.
Shun convinces Umi to help him with the paper, and the two begin a mild romance. However, their budding romance runs aground when Shun, who’s adopted, finds out Umi may be his half-sister. Years ago, Umi’s father brought home a baby boy during a leave from the Korean War. Umi’s mother was pregnant with her so her father gave the child to a couple who had just lost their own son. Both Umi and Sun have a war photo with Umi’s father and two other men.
Shun tries to isolate himself from Umi, but when she confronts him, he tells her he has the same photo. They have to forget their feelings, Shun says, and stay apart.
That’s easier said than done when Shun and Umi have to convince a rich developer not to tear down the school’s old clubhouse. When Umi’s mother returns, Umi decides to find out the truth about Shun’s past. Will she like the answer?
FROM UP ON POPPY HILL is funny and endearing, but it’s also very light. In addition, there’s nothing particularly morally or spiritually uplifting about the movie, so it’s basically just a light romantic comedy with some quirky drama thrown into the mix. The two teenagers turn out not to be related by blood, so there’s a happy ending of sorts.