The Garden of Words (2013) Poster

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Garden of Words and Shinkai
moises-z9011 July 2013
Although I don't make reviews of movies (only read and maybe comment with friends), Shinkai's movies just force me to. My first comment was of, in my opinion is this director's best work to this day, 5 cm per second, and so this is going to be my second comment.

With that long introduction said, I must say this movie surprised me, with a scenery a OST worthy of the highest regards (like Shinkai has us used to) and a character development spot on. Not the deepest analysis in each character (he couldn't do that in 45 min) but deep enough for the audience to understand them and know what they are going through which is the whole point of the movie. All this wrapped up with a spectacular climax. Although you feel the climax coming, you don't expect a climax like this, with that much energy, sentiment, and art, all in 2 min long.

To finish, a little opinion on Shinkai, I have seen all his movies and I sense that him, with this movie, just realized what are his strong points: not huge movies with 8 characters and lots of themes (a ground where Miyasaki flourishes) but little situations where few characters stand for being truly humane and how they confront problems that ,at that time, mean the world to them and shape them for the future. He's a director that likes to test new grounds (part coming from being a young) but he's also getting reaching his full potential. That's why "Voices from a distant star", "5 cm per second" and this movie are his best work to date and "Voices from deep below" and "place promised" being his not so good movies (although I liked them).
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Absolutely stunning.
hillaryishere27 February 2014
I have no words that can describe how in love I am with this movie. I stumbled upon it randomly, thought the art looked lovely, and decided to give it a view. I'm so glad I did. The artwork and animation is just breathtaking. The landscapes and city scenes are almost photo realistic, attention being given to the tiniest of details. I would consider it on par with Studio Ghibli at least. I consider myself very critical when it comes to animations, and it takes a lot to really wow me, but this took the cake. I came with no expectations, and left wondering why this movie isn't more widespread and the need to tell everyone I know to watch it. Though the film is only 46 minutes long, it feels like a feature length film. I was captivated for every second of it, and will be watching it many times in the future.

Too long, didn't read? Watch this movie.
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Visually stunning with a good story
mhaqs12 September 2013
I've seen most of Makoto Shinkai's anime. When I first saw 5cm per second, I was amazed at how well the emotions of the characters dwell in the environment around them.

Garden of words is no exception. The refined use of environment and ambient effects (sound, music, weather etc) contribute greatly to the film's story. There isn't much to say about how Makoto does it and if you're going to like the style but give it a watch and you'll know.

Overall, Garden of words is a really good piece of art. It's definitely filled with Makoto's signature style and a definite recommendation to watch.
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stunning in its vision...a work of art DON'T SHUT IT OFF AFTER THE CREDITS START ROLLIING
bcheng9314 April 2014
i've seen all his films and personally, this is my favorite. in this film he tweaks his animation style a little bit...just a little bit and i think the results look even more stunning. the guy(Shinkai)just keeps evolving and getting better.

two main reasons why i watch his movies 1:animation is out of this world 2:the story-lines that he comes up with. his films are the only ones that hit that chord of loneliness and longing consistently...never manages to not put a lump in my throat.

the story starts off by introducing the male protagonist Takao, who is 15 years old and in his first year of high school. Takao aspires to be a shoemaker and make something of himself. he also likes the rain and where he lives it rains a lot. every time it rains Takao has a habit of cutting first period and going to the park where he has a special place where he sits and draws designs of shoes.

one rainy day, a young but older woman is also sitting in that place, drinking beer and eating chocolates. she seems sad. they have a awkward little first conversation. every time it rains she is also there in the park in that place. they get to know each other a little bit.

during one stretch of rainy season it rains like for a week and they see each other everyday...he jokingly says that she gonna get in trouble at her work for calling out so many days.

what happens afterward is love discovered, love losted...and a sense and a feeling of hope for the future. again, my favorite in story and animation. the film is a very short 46 minutes and the time just flew. i just wish it could have been longer, maybe there will be a sequel...if you watch the movie you will know what i mean.
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(Rwo) Review : GARDEN OF WORDS Is Cheesy, But Has Heart
trung-rwo5 February 2014
Promoted as a feature-length film, Shinkai Makoto's Garden of Words surprisingly only lasts 46 minutes. However, it was enough for the director to portray human emotions as well as understand the purpose of relationships.

The word "love" in modern Japanese is "ai", but in the ancient language, it was actually written as "koi", which is a compound of two other Kanji means "solitude" and "sad". Though Garden of Words is set in modern times, "love" in this film will be portrayed in its original meaning, which leads to a story about longing and loneliness, as well as suggesting an unhappy ending for love.

At the center, there is Takao, a 15-year-old student who wants to become a shoe-maker. On rainy days, he often plays truant in a Japanese-style garden and learns to make shoes there. By chance he meets Yukino, a mysterious woman much older than him, and whenever it rains, the two of them meet each other in the garden. Over time, their relationship deepens and the mystery surrounding Yukino finally reveals itself on a dry day.

Similar to Shnkai's previous films The Place Promised in Our Early Days, 5 Centimeters Per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, the most impressive thing about Garden of Words are the vibrant & unique visual elements. In this latest film, he continues to develop his own unique style. Clean and cute, a little bit cheesy even, Shinkai uses excessive glare and light pink tones, and the result is a bombastic impressive 46- minute picture.

The park's natural setting, with green trees drooping into the water, the wind stirring the small rocks, creates a space ripe with romance and poetry, which helps ease anxiety. Although the scenes in the school, Yukino's house, train station etc were beautifully drawn, the brightest points in the painting of Garden of Words are the natural moments when two people sit in the park together and enjoy the stillness of emotion.

Garden of Words delivers a simple, soft love story, though many would argue that it is taboo. The director knows how to manipulate love, make it as natural as rain, by arranging the meeting at a far away location from where they work/study, only meeting on rainy days to make their feelings vibrate. Eventually, when the truth of their fate is revealed, the audience completely accepts it, because their love for each other is full of sincerity and cultivated diligently through the rainy days.

Garden of Words is a triumph of visual style over substance. It can be very predictable, can be very cheesy when two people are hugging and crying at the end. But the movie creates honest and fresh emotions, accompanied by an impressive visual expression. Garden of Words is not simply the binding of the last two people through some lines of Japanese poetry that they read to each other, It is also the shining of unique storytelling style with images.

And with the blink of an eye, a small gesture is enough to say everything about human emotion, words probably are not needed anymore. Garden of Words gives you a unique experience, exploring the visual and aesthetic language of love.

Trung Rwo
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FedericoPesce25 May 2015
It's hard to describe an emotion. I think that, for that very same reason, is hard to describe this movie. The way I feel when I watch Makoto Shinkai's movies is indescribable. The way he captures the concept of time and space is something that I've never seen before and that's exactly why I absolutely LOVE his movies.

The reliefs and textures in his images make me feel that I could stretch my hand into the screen and perfectly perceived the distance between the different layers. The sense of loneliness, the sense of the time passing by can be easily felt and the music... it's like if the movie was created to fit that music instead of composing the music to fit the movie.

It's truly a masterpiece.
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Shinkai's best film to date.
cherold7 September 2014
I've always had mixed feelings about the works of Makoto Shinkai. Movies like 5 Centimeters per second are visually striking and evocative, but they are also essentially illustrated radio plays, where the story is told through words.

Garden of Words, surprisingly, is a movie that lets the images speak. While there's still a fair amount of narration, much of the story is told through its gorgeous visuals.

Thoughtful and touching, this movie proves I was right to keep watching Shinkai's films in spite of continual frustration and disappointment. I did it because I knew what he was trying for could work beautifully if he just learned to allow silence, and now he has. I hope this is a sign that he has matured into the animator I always hoped he'd be.
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Lovely art and beautiful scenery and tone
nickrick665 November 2013
this movie has such a nice mellow story to it very true to life, it does motivate you and shows you how real life is , it is truly a beautiful film that i would love to see more of similar to 5 cm per second.

i think this shows that a story can be told in the right ways no matter how long it takes, this shows determination to reach a goal that we need to gain in this tough world.

I recommend this movie because the art is so beautiful and the soundtracks also, it truly is wonderful. This movie is a work of art. and this needs some awards.
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'The secret garden' of Japan.
Reno-Rangan18 May 2014
Just remember the technical brilliance of '5 Centimeters Per Second', the same director who curved this movie as well. So the expectation usually will be high for anyone who watched this filmmakers earlier movies. The movie was too short, not even it crosses an hour mark, but only a just below the 50 minutes.

Not only the filmmaker, but title as well impressed me. You know 'The Secret Garden' was one of my favourite so thought it would go similar fashion. Yeah, that's right the movie deals a story of a high school boy Takao who is passionate about shoe making. He goes to a nearby garden to the school to sketch shoes. One day during the rainy season he meets a stranger with beer in one hand and chocolates in another. Days passed by, they become very close and shares things to each others. How far this unanticipated relation takes them together and what are all changes make in their lives is follows in heartbreaking way.

''A faint clap of thunder. Clouded skies. Perhaps rain comes. And if so, stay with me.''

I can't say it was an unexpected surprise, it gave me what I was looking for, fulfills my desire. You know during the transition between two scenes some director will take an alternate route by showing skies, rain, clouds, insects et cetera for the few seconds. Those were very impressive and realistic. Technically it was spectacular, every minute details were incredibly good. It was a perfect meld between characters, story and the backgrounds.

The visuals were very charming in every frames of the movies just like '5 Centimeters Per Second'. Fine story as well, pure drama with more realistic mode covered with sentiments at the end. Could not ask better than this. The only worry was this movie is unbearably small. I was thirst to have extra more minutes, but I could not get. Ended seeing it with a disappointment but more than satisfied with the complete movie. For anime movie fans, it is a must see. Hope y'all get same excitement and pleasure like I had.
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A Short Film but Contained The Same Magic seen in "5cm Per Second"
maximkong2 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Makoto Niitsu really did it again. Despite being only about 45 min in length, the message delivered still carried the same taste that was seen in his earlier works which included '5 centimeters per second' and 'voices of the distant star', but this time was set in a realistic urban setting rather than a more fantasy approach.

The intricate details in the visual and the soothing sound effect might have played a big part in it, but the real magic was of course brought out from the stories of the characters. Without giving out spoilers, it is essentially about people finding their way out of impediments towards life's goals and the loneliness that often accompanies them. And this sometimes brings people together in odd ways. (7/10)
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True to (my) Life
Diels_Alder1 February 2015
When I was in my junior year of college I used to eat lunch in a resource centre twice a week because it was never crowded. There was a group of seniors who used to do the same thing, and one day I sat at their table. While there was not a lot of rapport to start, we found some common ground over upper-level coursework and I began eating my lunch with them. Over the course of the semester I came to talk a lot to a woman who was almost always there, whether the others were or not, and our conversation became quite enjoyable. Eventually the semester came to an end, she graduated, and I never saw her again. We had been talking twice a week for ~3 months and I had never learned her name nor seen her outside of the resource centre.

I'll admit that I'm a little non-standard when it comes to social interactions (e.g. never asking her name), however I share this anecdote to say that this kind of thing does happen in real life. Moreover, you can really connect with someone while knowing almost nothing about them and I found the development of Yukino and Akizuki's companionship to be spot on. Fortunately, I don't think either my compatriot nor I had as much baggage as these two characters (and, unsurprisingly, there was no big climax in my story).

Nonetheless, there is a certain kind of beauty in these ephemeral friendships that fall together from (temporarily) shared schedules and this is captured perfectly by Mokoto Shinkai.
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A beautiful visual story, with not too much else to tell
ashild-blovvig11 October 2017
Within the first few seconds, you know you're in for a treat for your eyes. The animation in this movie so well done and pleasing to watch. It's one of the better animations I've seen, at least when it comes to the environment (the people are animated pretty much just like most other anime movies). There are so many details and work put into this.

We meet the boy Takao quickly through his narration. It's both beautiful to listen to and at the same time kind of funny, since he is only 15 and he makes it sound like an angsty diary entry. He like the rain, and shoes. He skips school to go to the park when it rains, where he meets a woman. They seem to have the same idea of going to the park on rainy days. He finds out eventually that he wants to design shoes for her.

The movie is unintentionally funny in its fixation in shoes and feet. In one way, it almost framed in a fetishized way, on the other hand, its very sweet and beautiful to watch.

The movie is very short, so there is not much time for character development or to let the story unravel in a slow pace. I don't know myself why Shinkai didn't make it longer (time or money or both probably), but if he could've made it longer, he should have. It has lots of promise, and would be way more interesting if it could tackle their relationship more, especially based on the massive taboo on age difference in Japan. It misses out on some really good opportunities for telling a deeper story.

There's a climax where there is a lot of feelings and crying going on and it is, unfortunately, bombarded with really loud emotional music. The dialogue is intense and almost violent, and at the same time kind of silly in a strange way. The music almost drowns out the dialogue and there is anger and sadness and love and it all happens so fast and in an intense way it's hard to know what to feel.

I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. It has a lot of potential, the animation, again, is gorgeous, the story is cute, but with not much substance (of course it has some, it tackles some issues of the woman, Yukari, for example, but not deeply enough. Everything is told so fast you'll almost miss it). I do want to see more of Shinkai (this is the first one I see), because I have no doubt he has made things better than this, and I look forward to see it.
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Beautiful, But Not Quite The Film That "5 Centimetres Per Second" Was
TheFilmGuy17 May 2014
I decided to check this out cause the cover reminded me of "5 Centimetres Per Second", and then I found out that they are directed by the same guy. What are the chances? But I loved "5 Centimetres Per Second" because it gave a realistic story which is normally not what is done with Anime. So I decided to check this out and hoped that it would be as good. Sadly, it wasn't. Was it beautiful? Yes, it was. But I felt the characters didn't have enough development, at least that we saw, for it to make sense. Also, without spoiling a certain plot point, I felt that a certain aspect of their relationship wasn't explored in detail the way it should have been. The big scene between the two of them had elements there, but because their relationship wasn't explored that much, it felt random and out of place. Overall, I thought it was okay. I would recommend seeing "5 Centimetres Per Second" over this.
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Beautiful but skip the English dub
HistoryMystery14 September 2013
I am still rather new to Shinkai's works but fell in live with his previous film "Children Who Chase Lost Voices" and have subsequently watched several more.

Garden of Words is a lovely story about dealing with a not so perfect life, in a not so perfect world. It follows a high school boy who dreams of becoming a shoemaker. He doesn't attend school if it is raining and on one of those days as he walks through the park he meets an older woman.

Visually this movie is breathtaking - the anime really can't be faulted. My only complaint is directed at the English dub - I could hardly believe they decided to include the "f" word which I don't recall in the original version - it seems a clear stab at trying too hard to Americanise the movie.

Therefore my advice is to watch the film but stick to the Japanese original.
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Surprisingly Good
znyggisen28 April 2015
With it's short length of only 45 minutes, it's hard to call this a full movie - although don't let that deter you, as it's still better than most that I have seen, anime or otherwise.

When you hear about this movie one of the things that get repeated mention is it's visuals, and I concur. It's probably the most well made anime from a visuals standpoint.

The story isn't bad either, for only 45 minutes it sets up and tell a surprisingly deep and moving story. It is simplistic storytelling, but still very powerful. It is somewhat reminiscent of one of the director's previous films, 5 Centimetres Per Second, in that it uses a similarly "simple" story but one that relates strongly to emotions and situations felt by normal human beings. I also think this is a great movie to show people who normally don't like anime, as anime very often have different storytelling than I think many are used to. This one is more grounded without many of the "fantasy" elements that most anime's have.

The plot summary on IMDb do just fine setting up the story so I wont bother explaining it, it would just be redundant.
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I have no words That can describe this movie, wonderful
f-luchetta-785-4457249 October 2014
a true work of art by Shinkai , the director of which I also enjoyed his other work. I have no words That can describe this movie, wonderful.

the main themes of this anime is the fear of the future, fear of relating to other people and the profound ties that can arise when you let go.

everything is treated with a certain lightness never dull but it creates a certain empathy between the viewer and the two protagonists. the whole story told in a way so gentle flows, however, in a final at the same time very strong, very full of meaning but not over the top.

the video quality is excellent, and there are often shown great landscapes.

overall I would say a very nice anime of a director who in my humble opinion is destined to become one of the leading exponents of this genre 9/10
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Short, but all-inclusive 45 min
jwsohn0021 October 2013
Great anime film. Reflects the current upside-down status of Japan in the form of a love story. The director knows what is the thing called "love" --- not just the love-like imaginary things so many movies and stories are fantasizing with. Gives a wonderful resonating message that a loving couple is what we need for a start of everything --- not just for the two people but also for the entire society and eventually the world. No wonder this movie ends up with a happy starting, not a typical "happy ending".

The director Shinkai Makoto refines his expressionism to a higher level in this movie. The story gets shorter, but deeper with a clear message. The choice of Japanese Danka(short poem) as a kind of background setting creates a clear contrast between a very modern Japanese teenager and an ancient Japanese tradition being inherited through an ancient-literature teacher up until now. A great leap from his previous work of 5 Centimeters per Second.
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Beautiful, but slight
justbob198217 December 2015
Version I saw: UK Bluray release

Actors: 6/10

Plot/script: 5/10

Photography/visual style: 9/10

Music/score: 6/10

Overall: 7/10

Makoto Shinkai is a master of visually stunning, quite short films that are heavy on 'feels'. He began with the astonishing achievement of single-handedly creating and animating hard sci-fi weepie 'Voices of a Distant Star' using only his own Apple Mac, and it is still a delight to watch today. Since then, he seems to have progressed fairly steadily towards more mundane settings, but his production standards have only risen.

'The Garden of Words' is a romantic drama set in modern Tokyo, featuring a schoolboy named Takao and an adult woman named Yukino who meet by coincidence in a park, when they should both have been otherwise occupied. Incidentally, they are voiced by very prominent seiyuu Miyu Irino and Kana Hanazawa, making this a fairly prestigious project.

As the story develops, we find out why each is bunking off, and a romantic element develops. This is somewhat awkward, given the age difference, but in the moment I found it no more incongruous than the fact that Takao is a straight male who aspires to become a designer of women's shoes.

The plot is incredibly slow, making the 46 minutes seem far longer. This is not helped by the incredibly sparse dialogue and lack of music, which give the viewer very little to latch onto. I wondered if there might be some influence from the philosophies of Zen Buddhism, which is prevalent in Japan. The animation is the main draw, and it is simply stunning. Astonishing amounts of detail have gone into the leaves on a tree, or ripples on water, and at times it approaches that holy grail of animation, photo-realism. If you are likely to be wowed by beautiful imaging, you will easily forgive the mundanity of the story. If you like the characters, that may carry you through. If you are not keen on those things though, I don't think you can be saved from considering this a tedious snore-fest.

Personally, I rather enjoyed it.
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Quick Review
Alex_Kladis3 January 2019
Although, I was delighted with "Your Name", for me, "Garden of Words" is the Shinkai movie that made me love him.

The color choices, the outstanding score, the amazing cinematography and the pure 2010's anime style of animation blow me away. It is a full love story in less than 50 minutes and it is a pure masterpiece.

"Koto no ha no niwa" is one of my absolute best and I recommended to each and every one of yoy that wants to watch a great platonic love story!
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Simply wonderful
Sakura_Cyborg15 October 2018
I rarely rate movies higher than 8, but this movie deserves the best rating in my opinion. The artwork is not only mind-blowing, the story is also wonderful. The setting conveys some kind of melancholy that touches you deep inside. It will not leave you untouched. I watched this film a dozen times already and won't stop doing so. :)
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45 minutes of goodness
The-Maker12 September 2018
Go watch it, its really good, i don't wanna spoil it for ya
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the rain
Kirpianuscus25 July 2018
...was the basic fascinating aspect of film, for me. the plot is the second. and, as teacher, the feel to see a too familiar story about vulnerability, need of the other and dreams. I am only insignificant viewer of Japanese animation and its importance is result of the meeting with it after the fall of Romanian Comunist regime. so, I am not in measure to define schools, directors art or techniques. but this film is real admirable. for the manner to define characters. for the small pieces of story. for the feeling as air. and for a form of profound , delicate honesty.
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Makoto Shinkai is legend!
nestoryaviti18 May 2018
This is my second Makoto Shinkai anime to watch after seeing your name and I absolutely love it. Its story telling is wonderful and its stunning to look at. A beautiful art and a must see even if you don't like anime. Makoto Shinkai is truly a master of the arts.
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amazing movie
magsirover25 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Spent the last three years of my life watching Hayao's Works/Studio Ghibli films, and so when I heard about Shinkai's rumors to be the next Miyazaki of his time. I immediately took the initiative to watch almost all of his works, as much as possible. Both on and off the big screen, I definitely have all the praise for the film.

There are scenes that despite the subtle appearance of each characters, it was perfectly conveyed to the viewers eyes making the story simple for viewers to relate to the passion and conflict of the characters. Beautifully done, and a must see for all art and enthusiast.

and if you paid enough attention to the details, Shinkai definitely has a trade mark in both story and art.
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Ethereal Spectacle, watch in high definition and be blown away. Visually stunning. No artistic compromises. A stroke of genius.
apiram27 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is extremely commendable for its mastery of visual aesthetics. Lush green surroundings and great idyllic views are depicted in this animation which leaves the viewer in awe. The colours are so vibrant and conspicuous that one can simply not afford to lose attention, because momentarily, we transcend reality and become immersed in dreamlike beauty.

Even the tiniest of details such as ripples in the pond during rainfall are rendered gorgeously!

The rain season evokes a somewhat poignant feeling but at the same time, the viewer will find serenity in the park, even during a storm.

The protagonist is a 15 year old school boy who aspires to become a professional shoemaker. Whenever it rains, he skips out on school and retires to a park where he draws sketches for shoe designs. This is where he encounters a beautiful but troubled lady (for the first time) who oddly drinks beer and eats chocolate.

The premise for this story is quite primitive and somewhat trite but the delivery is refreshing and has a great artistic stroke backing it up.Furthermore, the delicate romance, poetry and messages in this movie are handled well without becoming too cheesy.The relationship that ensues between the two main characters may be perceived as clichéd. However, this should not put you off this animation. This movie is art in motion. Each frame is divine and rarely has this medium been used to such magical extent. Please give this movie a go and watch it, if possible, in 1080p. By the way, the musical score also adds to the elegance of this lollapalooza.

Final verdict: the story is not complex and a little trite but there is enough visuals and some poetry to keep you fully engaged. For under an hour, this movie will take you to a different world and you begin to wish it lasted a little more...
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