52 Movies: Week 16
The Secret World of Arrietty is the American dub of the Studio Ghibli film titled The Borrower Arrietty. As the Japanese name implies, the movie is based on Mary Norton’s novel, The Borrowers about little people who live in the walls of houses and eke out an existence by borrowing things that will not be missed.
The fascination in the movie is the same as in the book — Seeing how the borrowers make innovative used of our everyday items. A pin becomes a sword, staples serve as a utility ladder, postage stamps adorn the walls and double-sided tape can be used to scale cabinets.
Hayao Miyazaki working on the script and produced the movie which was directed by first time director Hiromasa Yonebayashi. As would be expected from a Studio Ghibili film, the animation is superb. The subject matter, in a strange way, grounds the film so some of the more fantastic and beautiful elements of my favorite Ghibli films, such as Ponyo and Spirited Away, are absent. The Borrowers world is our own to a large extent, only smaller. Even the plot seems scaled down from some of the more lofty Ghibli films but it’s still a very good movie.
Indeed, despite the fact that this is a quiet, patient film without much in the way of action, I saw it in a theater full of children, some as young as four, and you could have heard a pin drop. There was no restlessness or talking — Just a theater full of children held in rapt attention. The two nine year olds I saw the movie with liked it every bit as much as I did. If you are looking for something to watch with your kids that you will enjoy as well, (or if you are just a fan of Studio Ghibli films), The Secret World of Arrietty is appropriate for any age.
Another positive recommendation from me — Four stars out of five.