Review of 'My Neighbours The Yamadas (Hôhokekyo tonari no Yamada-kun)'

my_neighbours_the_yamadas.jpg The Yamadas are just an ordinary Japanese family have some rather odd (but not too odd) adventures. There is the not-so obedient housewife, the forever exhausted self-doubting father, the older brother just beginning to find his own personality, the young, innocent, daughter and the slightly mad grandmother. This is not really a movie per se but rather a series of small vignettes of various aspects of the Yamada's life in modern Japan divided into sections such as “Family Life”.

Truly a significant stylistic departure from Studio Ghibli, My Neighbours is a study in simplicity yet with occasional lapses into familiar elaborate scenes. The music is magnificent with both orchestral as well as elements of rock.

I found the movie quite a refreshing change with strong doses of unheard-of reality and warmth. It could perhaps be suggested that this more style than substance (with the occasional lapses into Haiku it could seem even a bit heavy-handed) but I found this wonderful and entertaining with only the occasional “laugh out loud” moment.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2006-11-15

Directed by: Isao Takahata

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Year: 1999

Length: 104 minutes

Genre: Japanese Animation

Other reviewed films by Isao Takahata: