A love story between an 18-year-old girl named Sofî, cursed by a witch into an old woman’s body, and a magician named Hauru. Under the curse, Sofî sets out to seek her fortune, which takes her to Hauru’s strange moving castle. In the castle, Sophie meets Hauru’s fire demon, named Karishifâ. Seeing that she is under a curse, the demon makes a deal with Sophie–if she breaks the contract he is under with Hauru, then Karushifâ will lift the curse that Sophie is under, and she will return to her 18-year-old shape.
“Howl’s Moving Castle,” freely adapted from a children’s fantasy novel by Diana Wynne Jones, is the latest animated tour de force from Hayao Miyazaki, the director of, among other masterpieces, “Princess Mononoke,” “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away.” Admirers of his work, which is wildly imaginative, emotionally intense and surpassingly gentle, will find much to appreciate in this film because it demonstrates, once again, his visual ingenuity and his sensitivity as a storyteller.