Wolf Children (2013) & The Garden of Words (2013) Mini Review

This week am going to start writing mini reviews for indie/drama films because one I don’t have all the time in the world to write my normal 1000+ word reviews and two because I tend to struggle writing reviews for indie films. That being said I probably could go on a while about these two because they are two excellent animated films from Japan. I know most of my readers probably don’t see all that many anime films or anything foreign or subtitled. So with that in mind I have picked two that are in English language (Excellent Dubs).

I’ll go into much more detail below but please give them a try, got trailers and images below. Check it all out and give me a like and a comment at the end.


Wolf Children (Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki)



Hana is a 19-year-old student who falls in a “fairy-tale like” love with a “wolf man”. Over the course of the 13-year story Hana gives birth to two children – older sister Yuki, and younger brother Ame, or “Snow and Rain”. At first the family quietly lives in the city trying to hide their wolf heritage, but when the “wolf man” suddenly dies Hana makes the decision to move to a rural town, far from their previous city life.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended

Story: 90%     Acting: 85%     Characters: 95%     Dialogue: 85%

Drama/Fantasy: 100%     Style/Sound: 90%     Visuals: 85%

Total: 90%

Normally this isn’t my type of film and I wouldn’t have watched it. The struggle of a single mother raising two children on her own, that’s a good story on its own but here’s the twist that got me. They’re Werewolves. You get a life time of emotion from this film, ups and downs but in the end it’ll make you feel really just happy. Hana’s struggle is so alien but at the same time it’s somehow relatable, well done writers for that. But that’s just one development; you also get to see a coming of age of two children of a bizarre upbringing, do they embrace humanity or become the wolf.




My favourite scene would have to be either the old man helping Hana grow the crops after seeing her struggle so hard after failing time and time again. Or when Ame and Yuki fight in the kitchen, because it’s a real turning point between the two of them. Choosing their paths. And I loved Yuki’s narration.


The Garden of Words (Kotonoha no Niwa)



Takao, who is training to become a shoemaker, skipped school and is sketching shoes in a Japanese-style garden. He meets a mysterious woman, Yukino, who is older than him. Then, without arranging the times, the two start to see each other again and again, but only on rainy days.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended

Story: 75%     Acting: 80%     Characters: 80%     Dialogue: 85%

Drama: 90%     Style/Sound: 95%     Visuals: 100%

Total: 82%

This a real short one about 46 minutes so it won’t be a big loss if you don’t take to it. This is a really weird love story, in many aspects. Right from the offset they don’t get together and nor should they based on their ages, that aside they do get close and it’s a really sad but fascinating relationship to watch. According to the director (Makoto Shinkai) in Japanese “love” was written as “lonely sadness” and this was his basis for the films relationship, which is definitely what you get. I couldn’t quite figure out why it was only 46 minutes long until the first few scenes played out in the rain, boy those visuals must have cost a fortune to make, that and a lot of time. Worth it though, the visuals are just stunning, some scenes look like real photographs.


Trailer (Couldn’t find dubbed):


My favourite scene would have to be when Takao sees Yukari as a teacher at the school; my brain froze for a moment because it really came at me from nowhere. I even had a theory she was a ghost or something. Embarrassment aside it was fascinating because clearly they had never met at school because they both skipped the same rainy days. Funny but sad scene, wow should have seen that coming.


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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films!

25 responses to “Wolf Children (2013) & The Garden of Words (2013) Mini Review”

  1. Tom says :

    That second one, The Garden of Words, sounds really really cool man. A poetic title, too. That last pic you chose to use — wow. I see what you’re talking about in terms of the beautiful visuals, that’s ridiculous. Take THAT, Studio Ghibli!!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. table9mutant says :

    Wow – not heard of these but love the sound of them – especially Wolf Children. Great reviews, Tim! I’ve not explored much beyond Studio Ghibli but know I should… 🙂


  3. Kristin says :

    Looks really interesting, Tim! I’m not big into anime, but my best friend is ALL about it, and I’m certain she’s probably seen both of these. The Garden of Words looked beautiful!


  4. Nick Powell says :

    I have seen both of these films on sale at Fry’s a lot, but never bought them because of their run-times didn’t justify a full length purchase price. Also, I knew nothing about them. So thanks for the good reviews! I’ll have to track them down by other means.


  5. gilbertspeaks says :

    I loved my reviews and watched the trailers. Beautiful is all I can say


  6. ruth says :

    Wow, these animation are gorgeous! Nice mini reviews Tim, hope you’ll do more of these.


  7. Genki Jason says :

    I should do mini-reviews since I have about 20+ films I need to finish writing about!

    The Wolf Children is a magical film that shows the love between parents and children in a new and unique way. What makes it special is that it doesn’t sugar-coat anything (the story gets really dark) and yet it is visually beautiful and the soundtrack is exceptional. Seeing Hana’s love for her children and the depiction of their struggles was made believable and all the more rewarding by the way the writer and director integrated everything into the real world.


  8. Beer Movie says :

    Could not agree with you more on the 100% score for the visuals on The Garden of Words. That is genuinely one of the most beautiful looking films I’ve ever seen. Glad to see you rated Wolf Children so highly as well. I have a copy of that here that I keep meaning to watch.

    A personal preference obviously, but I cannot watch dubs. All about the subtitles for me.

    Enjoyed the new feature mate. Looking forward to more.


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      Oh great, glad you agree. Yeah the visuals where stunning.

      Hope you check out Wolf Children. Its a really fantastic story, very touching. Get on it man 😀

      I understand the Sub/Dub. I tend to pick which ever I see first. At least in the past 10 years the dubs have really improved. They used to be pretty awful!


      • Beer Movie says :

        I think my aversion to dubs is based on something I saw ages ago and no doubt they have improved. But it is just one of those things that is so ingrained now, I will probably never change.


        • Tim The Film Guy says :

          Haha I remember any chinese film from the 80’s and 90’s came with the funniest American dub. The thickest texan accent on chinese actors clearly speaking mandarin is the best comedy film ever made 😀


  9. sidekickreviews says :

    I think those wolves look kind of cute lol, plus I have soft spot of wolves 🙂 I like these mini reviews on indie/drama films and finding out new stuff that I might be interested in.


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      They are super cute at times. There is one scene when Yuki the older sister has a tantrum and keeps switching between her human and wolf forms. Hope you enjoy the film, it surpassed my expectations 😀

      Also glad you liked the mini review format. Am sure i’ll do more.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Three Rows Back says :

    Always great to be introduced to new movies. Thanks Tim!


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