4-year-old Kun must adjust to life with a new baby sister. His parents name her Mirai, which means “future”. Things aren’t easy for Kun or his parents. They argue often due to the additional levels of stress having a newborn brings. And Kun doesn’t help. He’s jealous that Mirai is now getting all their attention. He feels unwanted.
But when Kun steps into his yard, which features a single, very significant tree, his world is magically transformed. He’s visited by several special people who help him see his situation differently. Through these illuminative and imaginative sequences, Kun learns valuable life lessons… and so do we.
“Mirai” is a movie that mainstream animation studios, such as Pixar and DreamWorks, wouldn’t dare tackle. Not because the subject matter is “adult” (it’s 100% family-friendly) but because the subject matter is mature. There’s a big difference.
Hosoda’s screenplay incorporates so many common themes: sibling angst, parental woes, and family genealogy. Yet they’re rarely developed so authentically, or treated so kindly.
“Mirai” is playful, yet sensitive. It’s escapism, yet as real as it gets. And it may be the best coming-of-age adventure – centered around the youngest possible character – of the past decade. It all builds to a stunning climax that perfectly balances philosophies on life, loss and family. This should be required viewing for all parents – not just new ones.
Both the original and dubbed versions of “Mirai” will be released in select theaters starting November 29th. I screened the English-language version, with John Cho and Rebecca Hall as the voices of Kun’s parents. They’re both excellent, as is Daniel Dae Kim in a key, supporting role.
It seems like the only films that people force themselves to watch once a year are those that take place around the holidays. “Mirai” could break that tradition – and therefore start a new one. It’s not set over Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it is in that select category of special movies that should be re-visited regularly, just to re-ignite one’s spirit – and faith in great filmmaking.
It’s instantly timeless.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Mirai” gets an A.
GKIDS and Fathom Events will screen ‘Mirai’ in select theaters nationwide on November 29th. Running Time: 98 min.