Another beautiful cartoon from Hayao Miyazaki streaming on Netflix. I found this one to be more nuanced than his other work, layered with deeper stuff about youth, age, vanity, love, and sacrifice. Each character in the film is trapped in some way, often by illusive magic spells that seem to have lives of their own. They are trapped, but unrushed in their search for freedom, too busy interacting with each other, reaching beyond themselves in new ways:
A witch becomes an unexpected good friend.
A small faerie creature must keep itself aflame in a large fireplace inside Howl’s moving castle to stay alive, to keep itself, Howl, and the castle from falling apart.
A young woman turned into an older woman learns to seek out others instead of hiding behind her insecurities.
A prince must learn to love and to serve the humblest creatures around him.
And Howl himself must learn to take up power on behalf of others rather than for himself.