The Tale of the Princess Kaguya ★★★★

I've never fully warmed to Isao Takahata's Studio Ghibli films the way I've fallen for Hayao Miyazaki. Takahata is more ambitious and experimental with animation, but his experiments connect with me less in ways that are just a matter of taste: This film, his latest as of 2014, has some really intriguing and wild impressionistic content, but the minimalism of it just isn't as impressive to me as Miyazaki's fantastically concrete detail. That said, this film taps into a deep well of emotion in a way that Takahata's films haven't since Grave Of The Fireflies. It's a fairy tale that makes a compelling argument for the pain and messiness of life, and at times it's almost unutterably sweet, while at other times it's smart and clever and lovely.