Arrietty (2010) – 7/10 Studio Ghibli animated fantasy movie review

Cast / crew
Screenplay Writer and Planner: Hayao Miyazaki
Producer: Toshio Suzuki
Writer (Inspired by the original novels by) The Borrowers: Mary Norton
Saoirse Ronan: English: Arrietty
Tom Holland: English UK: Sho
Mark Strong: English: Pod
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Mirai Shida: Arrietty
Ryunosuke Kamiki: Shou
Tomokazu Miura: Pod

Arrietty aka The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

14-year-old tiny person Arrietty lives beneath the floorboards of a large house with her mother and father. At night, they go out and ‘borrow’ items from the humans aware that they must never be seen. Sho, a poorly young boy with a weak heart and broken family, comes to stay in the house for a few days before an operation and on Arrietty’s first night of borrowing, he sees her and her world turns upside-down.


Arrietty is a sweet, gentle movie but the sense of wonder and curiosity that should be there is all but non-existent (it surfaces briefly under the closing credits, oddly enough). It also could have done with some tightening of pace (remove nothing, just make shots a frame or two shorter) as not quite enough happens to fill the 93 minute running time (writer-not-director Hayao Miyazaki impressively grumbles in an interview that he wrote an 80 minute movie). Don’t misunderstand, though, this is a good movie. There are some very good scenes (the first borrowing and eye contact, the new kitchen, the goodbye, the closing credits), the animation is first rate, the character design for Arrietty especially is a Ghibli classic, the music is good when used and the goodbye scene is genuinely touching. There is an essential, if shockingly honest, interview with Miyazaki (being watched, you’ll realise after a while, by a real-life totoro) as an extra on the Blu-ray. It reinforces what we already knew: Walt Disney’s, John Lasseter’s and Hayao Miyazaki’s don’t grow on trees.

This movie contains

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.


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