Jiro Horikoshi (Gordon-Levitt) longs to become a pilot. In his dreams he meets the famed Italian aircraft designer Caproni (Tucci), who encourages him to become an aeronautical engineer instead. In the 1920s, Jiro studies at the university in Tokyo and finds work with Mitsubishi. Soon he meets and falls in love with Naoko (Blunt) who suffers from tuberculosis. They end up marrying. Jiro later achieves the feat he will always be known for, designing the Zero fighter plane used in World War II. But a beautiful flying machine weaponized for murder brings a dark side to Jiro’s legacy.
This wistful, exquisite hand-drawn work was inspired by the historical biography of Horikoshi (1903-1982), intertwined with scenes of fantasy and a fictional love story adapted from a novel by Tatsuo Hori. Miyazaki, in his 11th feature, juxtaposes Jiro’s love for Naoko and for aviation with the realities of a cruel, aggressive world, and as with most all Miyazaki films, the frame in which the story unfolds is achingly beautiful. The Oscar-nominated “Wind” lifts us up with its visual brilliance and poetic storytelling. Time to fly!