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Review: A Letter to Momo

Logged on to Kanopy to watch A Letter to Momo, a beautiful animated fairytale about coping with loss. The eponymous correspondence is unfinished, a dead man’s unspoken last words to the daughter he unexpectedly left behind: “Dear Momo,” followed by a blank page that symbolizes our heroine’s remorse and regret. Their final conversation was a bitter argument, and part of her desperately wishes she could apologize for her irrational behavior. The other part, however, simply cannot acknowledge the reality of the situation. When she and her mother move from the city to a sleepy island community, she refuses to socialize and acclimate to her new home, perhaps fearing that changing her familiar routine so drastically would mean admitting that her father really is gone forever. But when a trio of mischievous guardian spirits takes up residence in her attic, she’s forced to emerge from her self-imposed solitude in order to prevent them from wreaking havoc—and, in the process, she learns that “moving on” doesn’t necessarily entail forgetting what truly matters. Like Hayao Miyazaki, director Hiroyuki Okiura weaves a whimsical adventure that finds magic in even the most mundane of moments, reminding the audience that extraordinary experiences don’t always have to occur in the realm of fantasy.

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