The unusual beauty that is glaringly familiar in the Ghibli franchise is sonorously present throughout Howl’s adventures as a wizard and the main character’s story is mixed along with it.
Even though there are some changes seen in the movie that is different from the book by Diana Wynne Jones, the movie enraptures the viewers in the beautiful mystery and chemistry of the characters as the story unfolds into a beautiful narrative of perception of beauty, self-doubts and traces the way the main character Sophie changes into a stronger woman with a progressive leap forward.
Sophie’s Arc and how it enriched the story
Sophie was an orphaned daughter of a famous hatter, whose work she continued, making hats for people who led comparatively contrasted lives apart from hers. Her low self-confidence tampered with her belief in herself which made her think of herself as a burden and nobody would want her, given she thinks that she is not beautiful enough.
The entire trajectory of her life changes when the Witch of the Waste inflicts her with a curse that turned her into an old woman and thus she sets out to find Howl’s castle, away from the city where people know her, to find purpose in the last few days in her life.
The experiences of an old-aged woman and the frailty in believing in the unethical standards of beauty drain away from her as she starts being more confident and her insecurities about not being beautiful enough fade away from her.
Eventually, she starts to embrace her importance in Howl’s life and his past, the reason he was the subject of hatred and destruction, and how she promptly brought him into his sense and became a subject of desire for Howl to save.
Moments when she would stand up for herself and Howl, the viewers would get the changing and fluctuating curse of Sophie, which indicated that all she needed was a belief in herself as a woman and her insecurities were the only helpful catalyst to culminate into a real curse inflicted by the Witch of the Waste.
The presence of love and self-importance equally portrayed through the characters
Towards the end, when Sophie is hauled into the world that Howl created for his getaway and watches him give his heart to a star by eating it, she asks him to wait for him, screaming from the abyss. Magically, the first thing Howl says to Sophie when he meets her is, “There you are darling, I have been waiting for you.” the story arc that carried their relationship through a series of coincidences and fateful fantastical progression is a true feast to behold.
Ghibli’s fairytales have such a realistic characterization of the people portrayed and the element of fantasy is really the emotions that are abstract in daily lives.
The symbolism in the nature, the scenic beauty, the acts and the fantasy elements like the fire Calcifer, and the moving mechanism of the castle, opening doors to hell and to escapism, the movie is a beautiful adventure that can be connected to the mundane moments of life.