Alison Wong’s review published on Letterboxd:
At a party last night, a friend reminded me that we have not seen each other for coming up to two years. It startled me because from a combination of updates from social media and mutual friends, it didn’t feel like it had been so long. You can imagine how much slower still time passes when you are apart from the one you love because you think about them every minute. Violet Evergarden knows something about this.
For the entire time we have known her through the TV series, Violet Evergarden has been trying to rebuild her life after losing her mentor, Major Gilbert Bougainvillea. Their relationship is complicated: he is at once the person who used her as a killing machine during the Great War and the one who took care of her, teaching her how to read and write and even the one who gave her her name. As they lay together, severely injured, he told her he loved her. After she was rescued and lost track of him, she set out to discover what he means.
As Violet learns the meaning of love through her work as an auto memory doll (a ghostwriter of letters) the Major never leaves her thoughts. You could say that just as we can only reflect on the trauma of war after the fact, it is only in the Major’s absence that Violet realises she loves him and allows that love to grow. Her time without him was crucial. The resolution of their relationship couldn’t have happened any sooner and the movie combined with the anime series cleverly captures this as a body of work.
In this era of instant gratification, we believe that success should come quickly and easily— if it doesn’t, then it’s not success— cut your losses and move on. Yet what if, like Violet’s character arc, everything that we go through leads us to where we need to be at the perfect time? So instead of mourning the loss of time, perhaps we need to be grateful that the universe has given us the space to grow into the people who are ready for the very connection that we crave.
There is a recurring shot in the movie that intrigued me: it’s a medium close up of characters legs, usually in motion, usually in a sequence of heightened emotion. I wracked my brain for what this shot means and now I think I know: it’s a physical depiction of the journey we must go through to find closure or resolution. A gentle reminder that we might not be there yet, but that’s ok. We will get there when we are supposed to. In the meantime, just be grateful for the love and keep moving.