Thomas Pollock’s review published on Letterboxd:
Utterly magical. The animation is more abstract than other Studio Ghibli works, but boasts beauty all the same. The story has immense depth and its characters feel natural and heartfelt. This is one of the most unique animated films we have seen in the past decade, and to date for its honesty, humanity and spiritual tone. This is an animated film to be remembered.
Numerous parts of the film had me close to tears for he shear beauty of this story. What we see in the film is not little messages of morality for kids or silly comic relief we would see in kids animated films, but frank symbolism and real emotion. Some things that occur early become more relevant later on in the story, and I would love to watch this one again to look closer.
What the film succeeds in doing most is it really gets to the human core, which I love so much in some Japanese films. They are spiritual, believe in the human soul and here it is all the same. What we learn from this tale is that our time on this earth is short, and that the trees, birds and other people around us will go on after our death in a cycle. That is how things are, and the film reminds us that there are negative emotions in this world, but a great level of happiness. We must use our time the best we can, and I think this film is an excellent reminder of life itself.
P.S that ending :(