Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

Hayao Miyazaki (2004)

U Certificate


Our Score
The incredible imagination of Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki runs wild once again in this delightful animated adventure. Based on the 1986 novel by Diana Wynne Jones, it's a retro-futuristic fantasy set in a magical, war-torn land reminiscent of 19th-century Europe. This English-language version is beautifully voiced, with Christian Bale's seductive tones bringing vivid life to the vain young wizard Howl, whose romancing of 18-year-old milliner Sophie (Emily Mortimer) results in her transformation into a pensioner by the jealous Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall). The events that follow are both visually ingenious and dazzling, as Old Sophie (Jean Simmons) journeys to reclaim her youth, only to find employment in Howl's enchanted walking castle. But the meticulous eye candy comes at the expense of proper plot development, with the rushed final third, in which Howl is forced into battle, and an overly surreal conclusion likely to be particularly confusing for children.


A girl earns the enmity of a spiteful witch, and is placed under a curse that turns her into an old woman. Taking shelter in the walking castle of a famed wizard, she encounters the demon who enables the building to move, and who offers to dispel the enchantment - if she helps to free him. Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki's fantasy, based on Diana Wynne Jones' novel. With the voices of Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Billy Crystal and Lauren Bacall.

Cast & Crew

Howl Christian Bale
Witch of the Waste Lauren Bacall
Young Sophie Emily Mortimer
Madam Suliman Blythe Danner
Old Sophie Jean Simmons
Calcifer Billy Crystal
Markl Josh Hutcherson
Director Hayao Miyazaki
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Other Information

Language: English / JapaneseColourTheatrical distributor: Optimum ReleasingAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 23 Sep 2005