Howl’s Moving Castle

When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle. Ghibli’s follow-up to Spirited Away proved another mainstream success – a loose adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’ fantasy novel that acts as a launch-pad for Miyazaki’s boundless creativity. The house of the title is a magnificent thing – a clanking, wheezing, steampunk-esque creation – while the burgeoning love story between the vain Howl (a wizard and sometime-birdperson) and central hero Sophie (who spends much of the runtime trapped in the body of an old woman) is swoon-worthy, bolstered by one of Joe Hisaishi’s most magical scores. (PG, 119m)