Eleven-year-old Kubo lives alone with his mother, telling stories in the village during the day and hiding from the moon at night. Then one day he stays out too late and suddenly he finds himself on an impossible quest.
Kubo and the Two Strings deserves to receive rave reviews from the critics–but how they are to write them I cannot say. After the film ended, I knew I could not speak of what I had just seen–to give words to the beauty, the emotion, the depth of this film, would be somehow to shatter it. How could one calmly write such sentences as, “Humor mixes with heart” or “The visuals are gorgeous” or any other similar stock phrase when faced with an experience such as Kubo? I am sure I cannot.
So this review is, in some sense, a non-review. I cannot tell you how I felt while viewing this, how I felt afterwards. I cannot find the words to discuss the visuals, the music, the story. I will just say this: The story is about stories, and about the ways they shape our lives and our deepest selves. The story speaks to that secret part of viewers, the part that wants to believe, wants to know, wants to be known. It asks viewers what story they will be a part of.
So, if you haven’t seen Kubo yet, go. I cannot tell you exactly why you must go–only that you will not likely be disappointed. You may think you have seen the old quest story, the coming-of-age story, plenty of times before–but you have never seen it like this.