While we’re all stuck indoors, finding stuff to do is awfully tricky. You’ve played all your games, you’ve read all your books, you’ve cleaned your room. There’s nothing there to do!
How about sitting down with a nice, feel good film?
For those who want to watch something not only light-hearted, but heart-warming, my preference is “My Neighbours The Yamadas” by Studio Ghibli.
Created in 1999, this visual piece follows a typical Japanese family called The Yamadas, consisting of a mother, father, daughter, son, and grandmother. Each have their own quirks and each have their own perspective on life. Unlike other animated films, where character’s faults become their downfall, this brings it more real to life, where everything they do lets them learn more about the world. A great film to watch either on your own, or with your family.
When you first watch it, you can spot a lot of cultural differences. It’s informative in this sense as you’re able to learn about the East in an entertaining fashion. As you continue watching, you start to understand more common ground as to how we live our own lives, which is one of the charms of this film. You don’t have to know anything about Japanese culture, but you’ll always end the film learning and spotting more than you thought. With its re-watch-ability, you keep spotting more and more factors over time, allowing you to keep learning from the first watch, to the one hundredth.
While you can watch with English audio, I would personally recommend the original Japanese audio with English Subtitles to get a better experience. Luckily, being offered on Netflix, you can have easy access to this feel good comedy. You’ll also notice the artwork and animation is different to more modern Ghibli films. The style they adapted for this film came from a comic strip that’s very famous out there. The watercolour and sketched out feel have given it a nostalgic, artistic feel, allowing you to feel more at ease while watching.
A film is also only as good as its soundtrack, and I must say it brings out the best in the scenarios. During every skit, every sad moment, and every transition the music always fits perfectly. What makes it so much better is that not only is it all orchestra, but it just sounds so natural. It makes you feel, it helps you rather than just to escape, but to relate. If you weren’t even interested in the visuals, the soundtrack in the background would more than make up for it.
Overall, this film has a lot to give in both content and life advice. While it’s based off of a Japanese family, there’s aspects that can still relate to your own lives today. The family dynamic might not be similar, but being able to have that perspective, that realisation that no one’s perfect, makes this film all the more enjoyable to re-watch time and time again.
For those interested, a here’s the full soundtrack. It’s perfect to study to –