Movie Review: The Secret World of Arrietty

I previously stated that I have minimal love for Miyazaki movies. Well I’m going to have to retract this statement, because I loved this movie so much I’m not sure I have coherent words for it.

The movie begins by introducing a girl named Arrietty, who is absolutely tiny and a “Borrower”. She lives inside the walls of a human’s house along with her mother and father, and they’re not sure if they are the last Borrowers left, since their species has been gradually declining in population. They live by stealing tiny bits of food and things to make into objects to use. The movie begins with the arrival of a sickly boy named Sho, who Arrietty sees as he drives up to the house. Arrietty also has her first expedition to go gather materials that night with her father, and while they have a mildly successful time, it ends in disaster when Arrietty is seen by Sho. With their secret exposed, the Borrowers must find a new home before they and their home are discovered by people less kind than Sho.

I loved this movie for so many reason I really can’t encompass them all. The graphics were amazing. They were beyond amazing. From the moment I began watching I was captivated by the beautiful colors and artwork, and that feeling was exacerbated when Arrietty entered her tiny home. The quaint little place, with its adorable furniture and items adapted from little human trinkets, was mesmerizing to see. It brought back nostalgic memories of reading the book series The Littles as a kid. (That said, this movie is based upon the book series The Borrowers). The music was also fantastic, and I found myself in love from the song that played at the very beginning of the movie. I mean that I literally paused the movie to look up the track that had been playing because I liked it so much. The ending of the movie had me wibbling with tears threatening to spill (spoiler alert: they did). This movie was just overwhelmingly perfect in too many ways.

However, this movie did not manage to escape criticism, even if my problems with it were relatively small! I am entirely unsure, but for some reason I sometimes felt like things just didn’t measure up in terms of proportions. Sometimes it just felt like things were bigger to Arrietty than they should have been, but I’m kind of awful with proportions and I only got that niggling feeling occasionally throughout the film, so it’s entirely possible I’m wrong. It was something that bothered me though. My more pressing problem was just that the film felt sort of…anticlimatic.  The exposition was beautiful and I was constantly on the lookout for the true conflict, so when it appeared I was rapt but also wondering why it had only appeared almost 3/4 of the way through the movie. The conflict was resolved beautifully but almost too quickly. I felt like I had been driving on a gentle incline expecting to soon go over a mountain, but instead it was just a small hill. It just felt strange.

However, this does not deter me from recommending this film to everyone. Please please please watch it! It is fabulous and beautiful and every time I thought about the movie for a week after watching it it brought a happy smile to my face. If you don’t see this movie you are definitely missing out. This movie is rated G.


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