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The Secret World of Arrietty Review

Studio Ghibli is well known for creating films that stick with us after we watch them, as well as their most renowned director, Hayao Miyazaki. Their latest movie, The Secret World of Arrietty is no different. Based off of the book “The Borrowers”, which many of us read as a child, the movie captures another world and how those worlds collide and balance with one another. Unfortunately not remembering much about the book myself, I have been told the movie itself isn’t very accurate to the book.

The Secret World of Arrietty is about and young girl the age of 14. She is what they refer to themselves as, a “borrower”. A borrower is a small person about the size of your average toy doll. They live under houses and sheds in small houses they have created for themselves. Their intelligence is equivalent to our own but everything is on a much larger scale. They borrow little thing that human “beans” won’t miss, such as sugar, crackers, tissue paper and other small items. Human “beans” are what they refer to normal sized people as.

The life of a borrower is not an easy one. One must risk one’s self to survive, to borrow the necessary items in life. To be seen by a bean is the utmost taboo. Once they are seen by the beans living in the house they are borrowing from, they must move. The reason they must move is because, once they are seen the beans will stop at nothing to make sure they are killed. All humans are afraid of the unknown. And when they are afraid, they seek to either run away or destroy. So in order to survive borrowers must never be seen.

In the Secret World of Arrietty, the main character Arrietty is seen by a human. Her father tries to play it off as an accident in hopes nothing will come of it, but then Arrietty continues to have contact with the human. The human means no intentional harm to the borrower family but none the less endangers them by exposing their existence. With the fear of being the last of their kind looming over their heads, Arrietty and her family have no choice but to move away from the house they have grown to know and love. Being the last of their kind is more preferable then being exterminated.

The main twist in the story comes closer to the end of the movie when the location of their house is discovered by the person trying to exterminate them. Arrietty’s mother is kidnapped, she and the human friend she has made have no choice but to go rescue her so they may leave safely. The rescue mission turns out to be rather interesting with both of them being so opposite in size, but it plays to their strengths and they manage to succeed.

The end of the story is sweet but at the same time you see it as a slightly pointless. The human character gives her a cube of sugar as a good bye present, and Arrietty gives him her hair clip. Which one do you think will last longer? Of course they never see each other again, but neither of them dies. Which as much as it is a happy ending, it’s very anti-climactic.

Now with most Hayao Miyazaki films, I am on the edge of my seat excited to see what happens next. With The Secret World of Arrietty, I was relaxed the vast majority of the time. Unlike most of the movies that have so much suspense and adventure this movie is very relaxing and calm regardless of the parts they attempted to make suspenseful. After only two times watching the movie I was using it as a movie to go to sleep to, while other Miyazaki films keep me watching until the very end.

I’m not saying this was at all a bad movie, but it was not one that I felt I could really get into. The movie was very calm and slow. Again it is one of those movies that if I am trying to fall asleep, this is the movie I’m going to put on. For it being a Miyazaki film, I was very disappointed in how mellow it was. I did still buy it though, it’s going to be a long lasting kids movie for those who bought it but easily forgettable for those who didn’t.

1 Comment

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  1. Shinji Akari says
    December 15, 2013, 10:41 PM

    Studio ghibli has my respect.


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