“When the Wind Blows” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

21 January, 2018

Year of Release: 1986
Jimmy T. Murakami
Raymond Briggs
Peggy Ashcroft, John Mills, Robin Houston

Synopsis: Upon receiving news of an approaching nuclear attack, an elderly couple take cover in their home, seeking refuge in a makeshift bomb shelter where they await rescue while slowly developing the symptoms of radiation sickness.

When the Wind Blows Review:

A tale of unassuming humility as seen through the creased eyes of the elderly population, “When the Wind Blows” is an overlooked classic from graphic novelist Raymond Briggs, who overlaps time and place in a state of absolute confinement, depicting the sheer horror of war without ever truly exploring the world beyond the front door. A unique layering of miniature sets and hand-drawn characters, the movie breathes life into a static aesthetic, veering off into abstract thoughts and ideas while flashbacks provide a window into the soul of the meek and muddled mind.

Naïve and funny despite its dark themes, “When the Wind Blows” is brutally honest about the link between mundanity and survivalism, drawing inspiration from the attitudes and beliefs of Briggs’ own parents whose wartime experiences left them unable to comprehend the magnitude of Mutual Assured Destruction. Putting on a brave face without thought and downplaying the reality of their situation, the film’s animated stars display intense nostalgia for a tumultuous era, pining for the days where communities stood together while experiencing the eerie and detached reality of atomic obliteration.

Trusting government advice and frequently allowing the true enemy to slip their mind, Jim and Hilda hold a painfully insular perspective on the reality of atomic devastation, crawling to safety from within the confines of their rubble-filled home while failing to notice the poison infecting their air and water supply. The English alternative to Isao Takahata’s “Grave of the Fireflies,” “When the Wind Blows” is a haunting depiction of innocence in times of chaos. Showing that animation isn’t always for kids as provisions and precautions are rendered futile, the film sees the Black Death of the modern era takes hold in a severely unforgiving fashion, latching onto the elderly and juxtaposing doddery comforts with the pain of nuclear holocaust.


Review Date
When the Wind Blows