Genre: Slice of Life, Drama (very hard to label it as any particular genre)
Length: 46 minutes with about 75 minutes of extras
"A Chance Encounter... Becomes So Much More.
When Takao, a young high school student who dreams of becoming a shoe designer, decides to skip school one day in favor of sketching in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters Yukino. Older, but perhaps not as much wiser, she seems adrift in the world, and despite the difference in their ages, they strike up an unusual relationship that unexpectedly continues and evolves, without planning, with random meetings that always occur in the same garden on each rainy day. But the rainy season is coming to a close, and there are so many things still left unsaid and undone between them. Will there be time left for Takao to put his feelings into actions and words? Between the raindrops, between the calms in the storm, what will blossom in THE GARDEN OF WORDS?"
Short and bitter-sweet is the best way to describe "The Garden of Words". At just 46 minutes long, it leaves a little bit to be desired, but everything that happens is incredibly impactful and if the ending wasn't quite so bitter-sweet, it would actually be quite fulfilling. I keep reading that it's all about the maturity of Takao at the age of 15 and Yukino's immaturity at 27, but both have the opposite as well. Takao skips classes on rainy days. It's hard to say anything about Yukino without giving away spoilers as we don't even find out her name until later in the movie.
If you've seen any of Makoto Shinkai's works in the past, then you have an idea of what to expect out of The Garden of Words. Aside from the script itself, the artwork and musical score carries tremendous weight and really delivers the big emotional feeling to each and every scene. Almost the entire movie takes place in a single spot in the park but you never see the same scene repeated twice. The detail and effort to make it all unique is tremendous and just adds to the beauty. The music is a little bit of a paradox as the happier tones are played during the rain while it's more somber during the sunny days. The ending theme "Rain" is great as well and kicks in at the most dramatic portion of the movie.
The script itself is very powerful and manage to evoke incredible feelings in the viewer. I truely think that you could watch the entire movie without hearing any of the words and still get a moving experience. However, the way in which Yukino and Takao interact with not just each other, but themselves as well, causes you to be attached at the hip to them both. The final scene is a very dramatic confrontation that practically had me on the verge of tears along with them. I even watched it in both English and Japanese to get the full effect and to see which delivered a heavier punch.
Aside from being on the shorter side, The Garden of Words is a masterpiece that exceeds more than just a tale of love. Even for non-anime fans, I would recommend this movie. Rent it if you want, but I think this is a title that deserves to be in every person's collection! I'll definitely watch it again and again!