The final scene of Kubo and the Two Strings has haunted me since seeing it last week. Haunted might be too strong of a term, but it has resonated with me in a way that moves me very deeply. Even a week later and in memory, the scene feels as fresh and visceral as when I first experienced it.
Sometimes it’s a single scene that can make a movie, and given what I’ve just written, you may think that about Kubo and the Two Strings. That’s not really the case here though. Everything that leads up to the film’s end is as carefully constructed as the innovative filmmaking that brings Kubo’s story to life. Kubo and the Two Strings is far from the only animated family film to tackle loss; it’s even far from the only one to tackle those themes very well. Nonetheless, Kubo is exceptional in how it manages to top all expectations with brilliant filmmaking, a wonderful hero and a story that is both culturally specific yet universal.