The Garden of Words or Kotonoha no Niwa, a film directed by Makoto Shinkai, tells a story about forming connection, self-discovery, and the transient nature of relationships. Set against the backdrop of a lush garden during rainy mornings in Tokyo, the film unfolds a tale of unexpected companionship between Takao Akizuki, an aspiring shoemaker, and Yukari Yukino, a mysterious woman.
The Garden of Words – Story
Takao has a tendency to skip classes whenever it rains, seeking peace of mind. During these moments, he immerses himself in finding inspiration and learning about shoe designs. His decision leads him to a mysterious woman named Yukino, who also skips work to spend time alone in a garden. As they slowly open up to each other during the rainy season, sharing dreams, fears, and aspirations, their connection deepens. However, they both harbor deeper struggles and secrets that come to light when they decide to face them.
Yukino eventually decides to move forward, and Takao learns about her struggles, prompting him to take action. His actions provide her mind with rest and the energy to stay strong. In turn, Yukino offers him comfort and encouragement. They end up saving each other from themselves, finding solace in each other’s company. Their happiest moments occur in the garden of words.
Themes & Symbolisms
The Garden of Words delves into themes of loneliness, societal expectations, and the transformative power of human connections. The symbolism of the garden and rain serves as metaphors for emotional growth and renewal. The film subtly explores the impact of age, societal norms, and personal struggles on the characters’ ability to connect with each other and themselves.
The Ambiance of The Garden of Words
The film’s visual aesthetics are a standout, with Makoto Shinkai’s signature attention to detail evident in every frame, almost making them dreamlike. Composer Daisuke Kashiwa’s evocative score complements the narrative beautifully, enhancing the emotional resonance of key moments. The animation of rain, foliage, and urban landscapes is breathtaking, creating a visually immersive experience. The subtle and nuanced character development adds emotional depth, making the audience invested in the fates of Takao and Yukino. The film’s pacing, coupled with a poignant musical score, enhances the overall atmosphere, creating a captivating and emotionally resonant narrative.
Even though The Garden of Words was released in 2013, its emotional impact still lingers with me. Despite its concise runtime of just 46 minutes, the film manages to deliver a fully developed story with well-crafted characters. The experience leaves a bittersweet aftertaste, resonating with the audience on a deeper level. And going back to it gives me a surreal experience. I give it a much deserving 9 out of 10.