A moment out of your busy schedules to talk briefly about this:
This is the final shot of the Miyazaki film “Howl’s Moving Castle”, and I can’t tell you enough about what a great shot it is. It speaks volumes about the characters and their development without saying a single word.
When we meet Sophie her hair is braided very tightly onto her head, giving her an extremely uptight look. She is wearing a plain dress and a small, plain hat.
Here Sophie wears a wonderful flowing dress with a large, beautiful hat. Her hair, instead of being braided tightly back onto her head, is loose and flowing in bangs. And it is, of course, gray, symbolic that she won’t forget the lessons she learned as an old woman.
When we first meet Howl he has long blond hair and wears earrings and pendants, and his outfit is ostentatious almost to the point of caricature. Here his hair is shorter and a less in-your-face black, and his outfit is attractive but much, much simpler. Sophie has opened herself up to Howl, and Howl has grown up thanks to Sophie.
The stability is symbolized by the castle itself. Take a look at this shot of the castle. Do you see this platform anywhere? It’s not there. The platform symbolizes stability, and yet they are framed by the clouds: The stability comes not from any particular thing but from each other.
It’s such a wonderful shot, and I was looking at it and thinking about how well it works on so many levels.