"Sophie, an average teenage girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome-but-mysterious wizard named Howl, and is subsequently turned into a 90-year old woman by the vain and conniving Wicked Witch of the Waste. Embarking on an incredible odyssey to lift the curse, she finds refuge in Howl's magical moving castle where she becomes acquainted with Markl, Howl's apprentice, and a hot-headed fire demon named Calcifer. Sophie's love and support comes to have a major impact on Howl, who flies in the face of orders from the palace to become a pawn of war and instead risks his life to help bring peace to the kingdom."
We saw the movie last week-end: first of all, we were surprised not to be able to find any version in Japanese + subtitles in English.
This is another excellent movie from Miyazaki: for a change, it is not really centered on demons and cursed animals. I found it less violent in a way too.
Sophie herself is an unexpected mixture of romantic yearning and hardheaded sensibility, and her age seems to shift with her emotional state. Miyazaky managed again to "create" characters you care for. (He cleverly adapted the book from Diana Wynne Jones)