The audience knows from the start that Kaguya is not of this Earth, since we see her being born from a bamboo shoot in the opening scene. But in the last half-hour of the film, she tells her adoptive family exactly where she comes from: the moon. The big drama of The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya’s last act is that she’s about to be called back to her home, and doesn’t want to go. All of this comes from the original folktale, and it fits with the metaphorical thrust of the film as well, in that Kaguya’s journey home can represent what any young woman goes through, growing up and leaving her parents. Still, it’s very strange to watch 100 or so minutes of a movie where the primary conflict is between a princess and the older authority figures who make demands on her, and then for the story to abruptly shift and become about Kaguya not wanting to go back to the moon. The transition isn’t smooth. And while the plot-switch doesn’t ruin the movie by any means—it does build to a moving final sequence of Kaguya’s trip back through outer space—on the whole, the moon business isn’t as emotionally compelling as Kaguya’s desire to abandon her aristocratic duties and move back to the country.
The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya
The Reveal furthers the discussion of the film while providing a space for readers who have seen it to discuss plot-sensitive details. In other words: Spoilers ahead. Avoiding spoilers? Return to the review.