'The Tale of Princess Kaguya' is a near masterpiece

( PG ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Kaguya,' an animated film from Japan's Studio Ghibli, is a marvel that is lyrical and heartbreaking in ways that most live-action movies never approach.

Courtesy of Studio Ghibli

The finest animated movies in the world consistently come from Japan’s Studio Ghibli, cofounded by the great Hayao Miyazaki and the far lesser-known (in the West) Isao Takahata, whose new film, “The Tale of Princess Kaguya,” is a near masterpiece.

Based on a venerable Japanese folk tale about a magical baby, found by a peasant in a bamboo shoot, who grows into a headstrong princess, this delicate, hand-drawn marvel is lyrical and heartbreaking in ways that most live-action movies never approach. Grade: A (Rated PG for thematic elements, some violent action, and partial nudity.)

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