‘The Secret World of Arriety’ Movie Review – Sweet and Beautiful
The Secret World of Arrietty is the latest film out of Studio Ghibli and there are two words that describe it perfectly: Sweet and Beautiful.
Written by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro) and Keiko Niwa, and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, The Secret World of Arrietty is based on the acclaimed children’s book series “The Borrowers” by Mary Norton. We meet 14-year-old Arrietty (voice by Bridgit Mendler) who lives under the floor of a house with her parents (voices by Amy Poehler and Will Arnett). Because of their tiny size, the family survives by “borrowing” things they need from human beings making sure never to be seen.
However, when an ill human boy, Shawn (voice by David Henrie), comes to live with his aunt Sadako in the house, it doesn’t take long until he gets a glance at Arrietty. Against all odds and rules, the two become friends, but soon we realize their friendship threatens Arrietty and her family’s way of life.
The Secret World of Arrietty is Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s directorial debut, but you might know his work as an animator, he is responsible for the beautiful scene of Ponyo running on top of ocean waves in Ponyo. With The Secret World of Arrietty he manages to create an enchanting world in which tiny people live.
I have seen quite a few of Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki’s films, which is why I was interested in seeing The Secret World of Arrietty in the first place and it didn’t disappoint one bit. In fact I think it is one of my favorites. The friendship between Arrietty and Shawn is beautifully crafted and while children will enjoy this film for its pretty imagery and sweet story, there is plenty for adults to enjoy as well. I was surprised by some of the theme explored and also by how much I ended up caring about Arrietty and Shawn and their relationship.
I loved the ingenious ways in which common objects were put to use by Arrietty and her family in their world. For instance, Arrietty uses some sort of clip for her hair and now I almost wish that existed for me to use, seriously it’s pretty cool! And that’s just one thing, on their borrowing outings you will discover other imaginative ways they use what seems like trivial objects to “borrow” what they need. It’s really nifty.
Another thing that I found really refreshing was the evolution of the story. It didn’t end the way I expected it to and I think in some ways was more realistic than how these stories usually end. I came out of there absolutely enchanted.
And that’s not all, I think Studio Ghibli is known for its incredible rendition of scenery and The Secret World of Arrietty is no different. Some of the shots of landscapes are gorgeous and when the credits rolled, I kept watching for a bit because 1) the story continued a bit 2) the images were so beautiful I wanted to keep looking at them.
Overall, if you’ve been a fan of Studio Ghibli films, I think you’ll The Secret World of Arrietty as well, there is a little less of the magic and unusual creatures than you have come to expect from a Miyazaki film, but it’s still great. And if this is your first experience, it’s a great one to experience it with.
The Secret World of Arrietty comes out to theaters today. You can watch the trailer here.