I saw this film last night, in Japanese, with French subtitles.
Overall, I really enjoyed it!
Without giving spoilers, I will say that this film is historically inspired, and gives viewers a lot to contemplate and discuss, especially on the topic of engineers, inventors, and creative geniuses and their often complacent and indifferent attitudes towards their roles in the perpetuation of warfare.
Art-wise, some of the imagery is stunningly beautiful. The clouds and water, in particular were WOW!
Although the film's visuals are at times really stunning, I was, however, quite put-off by the discongruent mash-up of lazy cartoony and hyper realistic (nearly 3D) art. I found the juxtaposition of these two disconnected styles to be distracting, and sometimes even edging into unpleasant.
A note on the biographical / historical accuracy:
The protagonist Jirô Horikoshi is a fictional character made from a mix of the actual lives of Tatsuo Hori, the author of the short story of the same name, and Jirô Horikoshi, the designer of the Zero fighter aircraft. The film's title comes from Hori's translation of a quote from Paul Valéry's poem "Le cimetière marin".
I don't like it when movies make a biopic that isn't biographical... either make a fiction film, or make a biography, but make up your mind! Mashing up the lives of two real guys and then naming the character after one of them perpetuates misinformation and miseducation of the real history. *grumple*
Even though there are a couple of big things that bother me about this film, overall, it's well-done, I would recommend it to anyone interested in WWII history, as well as Japanese animation, and I'm sure to watch again.
Director: Hayao Miyazaki