Sophie, the girl, is given a spell and transformed into an old woman. It would be a lie to say that turning young again would mean living happily ever after. I didn’t want to say that. I didn’t want to make it seem like turning old was such a bad thing — the idea was that maybe she’ll have learned something by being old for a while, and, when she is actually old, make a better grandma. Anyway, as Sophie gets older, she gets more pep. And she says what’s on her mind. She is transformed from a shy, mousy little girl to a blunt, honest woman. It’s not a motif you see often, and, especially with an old woman taking up the whole screen, it’s a big theatrical risk. But it’s a delusion that being young means you’re happy.
Hayao Miyazaki, on what attracted him to Howl’s Moving Castle
The Auteur of Anime by Margaret Talbot: “The New Yorker” (January 17th, 2005)