Sophie thinks of herself as plain and boring, especially compared to her vivacious younger sister Lettie. Sophie expects to spend the rest of her life quietly making hats in the back room of her family's shop, but as her country prepares for war, she is forced to set out on an extraordinary adventure! After a escaping the unwanted attentions of some bored soldiers with the help of a handsome stranger, Sophie returns home only to be accosted by the infamous Witch of the Waste! The Witch lays a curse on her, turning Sophie into a creaky old woman. Sophie knows she has to leave town, and soon finds herself taking shelter in the moving castle of the dread wizard Howl...who is rumoured to eat women's hearts!