The animated film WHISPER OF THE HEART (Mimi wo Sumaseba, Studio Ghibli, 1995, Rated G) follows the struggles of fourteen-year-old Shizuku Tsukishima to discover herself as a writer. The screenplay is by Hayao Miyazaki, based on a manga of the same name written by Aio Hiiragi. For those who don’t know, Miyazaki is the co-founder of Studio Ghibli in Japan, and one of the premier directors/producers/screenwriters of animated feature films in the world.
And this film has a lot to say about the creative process and the struggle to become an artist.
I don’t want to spoil the movie, so I’m not going to provide a plot summary. But I will mention that my favorite scene is between Shizuku and a wise old artist, Shirou Nishi. Nishi-san has just read the first draft of her first attempt at writing a novel, and comforts her in her despair that the novel is no good and so therefore she is no good. He points out that a rough draft is like quarried stone–through polishing the gem inside the story can be found and brought to the surface. He’s right.
I also love how in this film Shizuku’s deep involvement with her work-in-progress results in her having waking daydreams about her story. I’ve actually had that happen, so it was fun to see it happen to a writer character.
There is also a wonderful romance subplot, but I’ll leave that to you to discover if you see the film.