A production with Miyazaki Hayao handling the screenplay and his son Goro directing, 'From up on Poppy Hill' has all the qualities of a vintage Ghibli wonder. In many ways, this coming of age story is similar to that of one of my favourites from this studio, 'Whisper of my heart', with a school + home setting, two very earnest and driven young teens, and puppy love. Unfortunately, something is amiss as the finished product does not hit home.
While it might be easy to point the finger at son Goro—and there are some directorial blemishes—I believe that the primary issue is the story itself (and not necessarily the screenplay). There are some seriously contrived circumstances that are the source of the conflict in the plot which quite blatantly vapid. The secondary issue is, as mentioned before, the direction + screenplay, with the two major plot-lines (school, teen love) not really flowing as well as they could have. There is also some really cheesy group-singing in the school which doesn't really gel well either.
That said, it's a Ghibli and is well worth your time. It's certainly better than most of the fatuous drivel out there :)