The Boy and the Heron

I went to see The Boy and the Heron with my son on Boxing Day here in the UK. We were in two minds if we wanted to go to the movies on Boxing Day, but we both said we were so glad that we did. This is a Studio Ghibli movie and for us, it was such a great movie to end our movie theatre trips with for the year 2023.

How to Download The Boy and the Heron

The film was released on July 14, 2023. You should be able to download or stream the film from a digital platform about two months later. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and check the current availability.

The Movie Review: A Nod to Studio Ghibli Fans

Now, I will say that this is a Studio Ghibli movie made for fans of the iconic studio. There are many little nods to past Ghibli work and similar themes that my son and I got a huge kick out of. I love the work of Hayo Miyazaki and would put him right up there with Walt Disney! Stuff like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away are just as good as anything that the House of Mouse has to offer.

One of the things that got me really excited about this movie was that it is said to be a kind of autobiographical story of the great Miyazaki, all be it greatly fantasized of course. That just sounded so cool to me and if you know your Ghibli history, there are many things that you will pick up on here.

The Journey of Self-Discovery in The Boy and the Heron

Our main character is a young boy called Mahito who has lost his mother to the bombings during The Pacific War. Mahito is devastated by this and is cold towards his new stepmother… who is his mother’s sister! They move and live in the countryside and Mahito has a very hard time coming to terms with his mother’s death and the changes in his life.

The movie starts grounded in reality and it is rather hard-hitting. However, in typical Miyazaki fashion, the fantasy and fantastical soon appear! Mahito’s stepmother goes missing and comes across a strange tower where he meets a rather interesting grey heron.

What we have is a journey of self-discovery as Mahito comes to terms with who he is and the loss of his mother. No spoilers here, but the story is good, yet at the same time, there are parts that I felt were a bit hard to follow. I will 100 percent pick this up on Blu-Ray when it is released so maybe I will pick up the smaller details more during my second viewing.

The Visual Splendor and Voice Cast of The Boy and the Heron

As you would expect from a Studio Ghibli movie, The Boy and the Heron looks amazing, the mix of realism and fantasy is done so well here. I am glad that we made the effort to check this out on the big screen, it is easily the best-looking animated movie that I saw in the theatre in 2023.

Before the movie came out, I was stoked about the voice cast. The whole cast is great, Robert Pattinson and Luca Padovan are fantastic as The Heron and Mahito in the lead roles. However, in the run-up to the movie coming out, hearing that big Dave Bautista be in a Studio Ghibli movie was awesome and had me even more excited for the movie.

Final Thoughts on The Boy and the Heron

If you have never seen a Studio Ghibli movie before, The Boy and the Heron is not the right place to start. However, for fans of the studio, especially the stuff that Miyazaki has done, this is going to be something you really do enjoy. I am excited to check this one out again as it was good, but there were some things I am sure will be clearer the second time around.

The Boy and the Heron
The Boy and the Heron is a 2023 Studio Ghibli film blending reality and fantasy, exploring loss and self-discovery in post-war Japan. Download it and have a good time.
8.5 Total Score
The Boy and the Heron Review Summary

Sound & Music
  • This could be a great swan song for Miyazaki if he does retire after this
  • The voice cast does a fantastic job
  • This is a spectacular looking movie
  • If you are a huge Studio Ghibli fan, there are many things you will get a kick out of
  • A couple parts of the movie were a bit confusing
  • It is not the best movie to introduce someone to the world of Studio Ghibli with
User Rating: 5 (2 votes)
Publisher Website
Operating System
Windows 7
Windows 8
Windows 10
full movie online
File Size
Jason Delacey

Jason Delacey

Jason is a 40-year-old writer from Northern England. He has been playing video games his whole life and writing about them for over a decade. As well as enjoying gaming into the wee hours of the morning, Jason is a real film fanatic too! He is open to watching all genres of movies from animated singing animals to brutal horror!

Jason loves to give his honest opinion on games, movies, TV shows and is always willing to give anything a try!

Favorite Games: Resident Evil 4, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, Bioshock Infinite, Super Mario World, The Last of Us, Halo 2, Streets of Rage 2, Overwatch.

Favorite Movies: Terminator 2, The Empire Strikes Back, Avengers Infinity War, Bloodsport, The Transformers The Movie. Dogma, BASEketball, From Dusk Till Dawn

Favorite TV Shows: X-Files, Supernatural, Lost, American Horror Story, The Mandalorian, Stranger Things.