The Secret World of Arrietty just might change the way you look at the world around you — right around you. A wide-eyed sense of discovery and revelation permeates the film, and what it reveals is ... the mystery and wonder of an ordinary home.
Written by animation master Hayao Miyazaki and directed by animator and first-time director Yonebayashi Hiromasa, The Secret World of Arrietty follows in the footsteps of ultra-gentle Studio Ghibli family fare like Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Ghibli films are renowned for painterly animation rich in authentic detail—yet seldom if ever has a Ghibli film, or any film, looked quite so closely and lovingly at the trappings of ordinary life: at floorboards and molding, bricks and tiles, ivy climbing a wall.
The Secret World of Arrietty looks closely at these things because its heroine Arrietty, a Borrower, is only about four inches tall. Her “secret world” is in the hidden spaces under floorboards and within walls, but the ordinary spaces of the house are no less magical.
My one caveat:
Arrietty is a winsome protagonist: spirited, coltish, wide-eyed, eager to take up the family trade. With her hair pulled back in a tiny butterfly clip and a found pin at her side like a sword, she feels ready for anything — a soul sister to the titular heroine of Kiki’s Delivery Service. It must be acknowledged, though, that where Kiki inhabited a world full of engaging personalities, Arrietty is the most personable character in her film.
I don't know if Miyazaki creates his wonderful casts of supporting characters in the directorial process, but it's that, more than anything, that sets Kiki
(and, on this level at least, Ponyo
) above Arrietty
. If Arrietty's supporting cast were as wonderful as Kiki's or Ponyo's, this would be a masterpiece. As it is, it's pretty terrific.
Edited by SDG, 16 February 2012 - 01:42 PM.