Movies / Animé and Toons

The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)


By Hervé St-Louis
January 23, 2022 - 08:12

The Secret World of Arrietty is an adaptation of Mary Norton’s first The Borrowers novella where a family of little people lives in the walls of a larger home. Shawn, the grand nephew of the house’s owner Jessica. She takes him in for a few weeks so that he can rest while his family is busy. Upon his arrival, he sees Arrietty, a small person enjoying the garden. Shawn seeks to strike up a friendship with Arrietty who is afraid of large humans, like all borrowers.

While not directed by Hayao Miyazaki, the scenario which explains the classic trope of the cartoonist where a strong young woman interacts with a more passive boy. Miyazaki is a feminist and in most of his films, and stories, women are the main protagonists but supported by equally strong male leads.

This story was one of those that Myazaki had wanted to adapt for decades, much like Pippi Longstocking. Fortunately, he was able to and Arrietty is the result. The forbidden friendship between the boy and the girl soon turns to tragedy as the secret borrowers’ home is discovered by the intrusive maid of the house.
While the story is captivating, the animation and the background sets are the highlights of the cartoon, with lush colours and expressive characters who seem to puff up when annoyed. The borrowers’ world is fully explored and the hardships they must deal with just to survive are demonstrated often. I like how this story shows that people can keep their resolve even in the harshest and most brutal conditions.
I would not count this film as the most groundbreaking Studio Ghibli film, but it is very imaginative and visually beautiful, so yeah, do watch it. I viewed the Blu-Ray version which has many extras such as a long interview with Miyazaki. I would have liked to see the British version of the English dub included as the boy was voiced by a young Tom Holland.

Rating: 10 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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