The Secret World of Arrietty

The Secret World of Arrietty

2010 | Hiromasa Yonebayashi | Gary Rydstrom

A family of tiny people called The Borrowers, live beneath a human house, 'borrowing' food from their unsuspecting hosts. When the young Borrower girl Arrietty is discovered by the human boy, Shô, everything changes.

Average rating   8 out of 10

(2.65) Frozen | (2.08) The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf | (1.97) How to Train Your Dragon | (1.97) Alice in Wonderland | (1.87) Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Jakob Schmid     2012-01-16 8 out of 10

The Secret World of Arrietty tells a beautiful story of a tiny people called The Borrowers, who live beneath a human house, and living from what they can 'borrow' from their unsuspecting hosts.

Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who worked his way from inbetween animator on 'Princess Mononoke' (1997) to key animator on 'Howl's Moving Castle' (2004) and 'Ponyo' (2008), and Gary Rydstrom, the Academy Award-winning sound designer, who besides making sound design for impressive movies like Spielbergs 'A.I. Artificial Intelligence' (2001), also wrote and directed the great Pixar short 'Lifted', which was released in 2007 with the excellent 'Ratatouille'.

'The Secret World of Arrietty' is based upon a series of 1950s fantasy novels "The Borrowers" by English author Mary Norton. Hayao Miyazaki wrote the screenplay for 'Arrietty' and the movie is very similar in tone and setting to one of his best, 'My Neighbor Totoro' (1988). It is a poetic and quiet affair, with faint overtones of tragedy; the young boy, Shô, has a heart condition, preventing him from living his life to the fullest, but is inspired by his encounter with the lively Borrower girl Arrietty, who in turn refuses to acknowledge that her people could possibly be going extinct.

Very serious issues that are handled very delicately.

The animation and backgrounds are beautiful, and there is an attention to detail in the animation that is rarely seen outside of Studio Ghibli. I especially enjoyed the details of the miniature world that surrounds the Borrowers; the drops of tea are huge and unwilling to leave the tea pot, rolls of tape, fishing hooks and a reel are used for climbing the huge chasms and mountains that the interior of a normal sized house presents.

And, as could be expected from a movie co-directed by a sound designer, the sound design is excellent, especially noticeable in a scene where Arrietty is overwhelmed by her first encounter with the enormity of the human house, represented by ghostly sounds produced by furniture and kitchenware.

'Arrietty' is Studio Ghibli at its best, quiet poetic storytelling, rich in detail and imagination, enjoyable for children and adults alike.

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