Only Yesterday is a Studio Ghibli film that is directed by Isao Takahata. Even though it was released in Japan in 1991, it only just arrived on American shores this year. This film features the voices of Daisy Ridley, Dev Patel, and Alison Fernandez.
The film chronicles the life of Taeko (Ridley), a 27 year old woman who travels to the countryside for vacation. During her journey, she reflects back on her fifth grade self. She remembers her first taste of pineapple, her first experience with menstrual cycles, and the first time a boy had a crush on her.
This is a meandering, slice of life film that may be boring to some viewers. I personally loved the film, though. Seeing Taeko’s life play out, and seeing her come to terms with the fact that she’s a creative person with a unique view of the world, really hit me hard. I saw myself in Taeko, and her experiences mirrored my own. By the end of the movie, I had tears in my eyes.
Only Yesterday is a gorgeous film, true to Ghibli’s standards. I couldn’t tear my eyes off of the screen. I wanted to frame every single shot and put it on my wall.The voice-acting was a little jarring at first, but I quickly became accustomed to it.
If you are a fan of Studio Ghibli’s previous films, or love slice of life movies, definitely watch Only Yesterday. It’s a visual treat that will speak to anyone who has ever felt different than the rest of the world.