An Ode to Whisper of the Heart - Abby Esteireiro

The pursuit of the dream. The pursuit of what we think could be the dream. The difficult, soul-crushing pursuit of what we think could be the dream. The sacrifices. The disappointments. The tiny successes.

Whisper of the Heart has led me through that journey many times over. It is a movie that sits in the back of my chest and my affection for it swells at the times I need it most.

If I’m being objective, the movie is nothing special. I guess some would even call it a sappy romance story. I would argue that it is the simplicity, the raw presentation of the journey, of the pursuit of the dream, that is its charm. That’s what stays with me.

Whisper of the Heart follows a young girl, Shizuku, who is a bookworm and her relationship with a boy about the same age, Seji, who is a violin-maker prodigy of sorts. When Seji leaves for two months to Italy to pursue his dream to become a violin-maker, he tells her that he thinks she has the talent to be a writer. Shizuku spends the two months that Seji is away writing a novel. This is no easy task. She loses heart during the tireless process: she isn’t where she expected to be (especially compared to Seji), her grades are falling, she stays up until early morning.

She ends up working through it and completing the novel. And spoiler alert: it isn’t very good. Her mentor compares her work to a stone that must be polished and chiselled in order to get to the gems. Shizuku cries, out of disappointment, of relief, and so do I.

That scene is so visceral to me. For the first time, someone is willing to give me the dirty truth rather than the Disney-fied bullshit. This whole pursuing your dreams thing? It’s really fucking hard. You are going to fail. Like a lot.


This is part of the process. It’s not a one and done kind of situation. You, Shizuku, Abby, are a work in progress. You’re constantly growing. Pursuing the dream. Making sacrifices. Being disappointed. Having tiny successes. You’re incredibly brave for putting yourself through that.

Whisper of the Heart reminds me of these facts. It wraps me in a tight, warm hug and pats my back after a difficult day. When I question why I am choosing to be a starving artist, it tells me I’m doing the right thing. When I am losing heart, it returns some of it back to me.

I hope that it can do the same for you.

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