If you are a fan of either the Studio Ghibli movies or the series “The Borrowers” you will love the “The Secret of Arrietty“! Here’s the basic synopsis and below that I’ll tell you what my family thought of the movie.
Residing quietly beneath the floorboards are little people who live undetected in a secret world to be discovered, where the smallest may stand tallest of all. From the legendary Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Ponyo) comes “The Secret World of Arrietty,” an animated adventure based on Mary Norton’s acclaimed children’s book series “The Borrowers.”
I’m a huge fan of Ghibli movies such as My Neighbor Totoro and The Cat Returns so I couldn’t wait for this movie to come out. I was happy to see that this film returned to the subtle and clever storytelling I enjoy so much. “The Secret of Arrietty” had such a strong storyline and such powerful characters that it stood on its own as a truly great piece of animation. The movie was simply charming!
My husband was very impressed with the quality of art and described the movie as ‘sweet’. He enjoyed it very much and did not protest at all when I mentioned adding it to our home movie collection later on. My daughter also liked it and was completely engaged during the whole showing. Like any pre-teen, though, she said, “It was pretty good.” She then proceeded to talk about it for the rest of the night. Even a week later she still tells me how nice it was and that she’d like to see it again.
All of us were laughing, gasping, smiling, and crying (okay, only I was crying like a sap). Though this did not feature the typical happy ending most Disney-related films do, it is handled in such a beautiful way that you can only imagine good things followed. I loved how Arrietty, despite her father’s quiet disposition, understands him and admires him greatly. The mother is hilarious and the house help is, well, energetic. Parents should note that, at one point, the young boy speaks pessimistically about death being an unavoidable fate. This is an important part of the plot and is addressed fairly quickly.
The only thing that bothered me was how Arrietty promise her parents that she would not do something and then proceed to do it a few scenes later. I understand that this was part of the story but I did tell my daughter that wasn’t good.
This is not a children’s movie though. Young, restless kids will get bored as there are no real ‘action’ scenes. In fact, as I recall, there aren’t even any scary or intense parts. However, those that are able to appreciate clever inventions, a lively family, and the preciousness of friendship will have a great time watching this.