I became a Hayao Miyazaki fan the moment I watched Spirited Away and then Howl’s Moving Castle. These films gave me a taste of his work and I naturally sought out more. When I saw the trailer for The Secret World of Arrietty, I knew it was a movie I needed to watch. I rented it from Netflix, and not surprisingly, I have loved the movie.
The Secret World of Arrietty is based on the story of The Borrowers. Arrietty and her family are known as borrowers who only take what they need, or think no one will notice is missing in order to survive. The borrowers usually come out mainly in the evening when they know they won’t be seen by the humans, and replenish whatever necessary supplies they need. A main rule they try to live by is never be seen by the humans.
Arrietty and her family live under the floorboards of a house belonging to a boy named Sho who stays with his great aunt and her maid for the summer while he rests up for an upcoming heart operation. Despite trying to stay out of sight, Arrietty does get seen by Sho.
As it is dangerous to be seen by a human, borrowers vow to move on from a place once they are seen by a human. However, Sho is proving to be more of a friend than foe, and becomes the key to helping Arrietty and her family escape once the maid, Haru, catches onto the existence of “the little people.”
The film, like all of Miyazaki’s films, is absolutely in its highest animation form. Watching the film feels as if you are gazing into a lush painting. The scenes of the summer house Sho stays in is picturesque. The grassy fields and wild flowers are mesmerizing, and makes you want to reach out and get sucked into the world.
Sho’s loneliness and his desire to make a friend is very poignant, just as Arrietty’s lust for adventure and enthusiasm for the world around her is infectious. Each scene that unfolded kept me riveted to my screen and I simply had to know what would happen next. The sweet little friendship that develops between human and borrower is enough to warm anyone’s heart.
Miyazaki can barely do any wrong if his name is attached to a film. Studio Ghibli has a knack for capturing the beauty of the natural world, as well as inject an understanding and care for how the children in the story think and are depicted. It’s the perfect family film to watch if you are looking to escape into a world of wonder, possibilities, and hope.
Reviewer Rating: 10/10