Arrietty (2010)

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Arrietty (2010)

The lastest opus by the Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli focuses on the Mary Norton classic fantasy tale, The Borrowers. As with the studio’s previous fantasies inlcuding Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo and Spirited Away,  first time director, Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s decorates the screen with lush colours and details that you just don’t get in the world of computer generated animation.

The story focuses on an extremely sick boy called Sho who visits his great aunt’s country home.  He realises from the offset that something special lives within the building’s walls.  Sho meets a girl called Arrietta, one of the ‘tiny people’  that  borrows food, plants and materials from the property. She is of an age that her father, Pod allows her to shadow him regarding  the perilous art of borrowing. They must avoid or protect themselves from threats including insects, cats, crows and worst of all, humans. When a bond is struck between Sho and Arrietti,  the father decides it might be time for the family to move to pastures new to protect the future of their kind.






One of the most refreshing aspects of Arrietty is the slow and careful buildup. There is no rush to jump from one joke or action setpiece to the other.  Yonebayashi lingers on character closeups, plants and beautiful landscapes. When the action arrives it is exciting and well handled. Surprisingly for a children’s film, there is no resolution to many of the problems that the main characters face. This may unnerve some of the younger viewers but I believe it is good character building for them. The children that were present in the small cinema during the performance seemed to enjoy themselves with hardly a whisper throughout apart from the comical moments.

The only negative that I could find is that if compared to the likes of Spirited Away, Arrietty falls well short.  But considering the latter is one of the greatest animated movies of the last 20 years, that does not deem it to be a poor feature.  Arrietty is charming and a breath of fresh air from the endless drove of releases from the Pixar/ Disney production line.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆


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About DAVID GILLESPIE 169 Articles
Fighting for clean bathrooms and restrooms since 1974.

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