Arrietty (Kari-gurashi no Arietti)

Arrietty (Kari-gurashi no Arietti) 2010

Before Hiromasa Yonebayashi became a founding member of Studio Ponoc, he was working at Ghibli on a lot of their blockbuster films. Arrietty was his debut as director, with a screenplay that Miyazaki adapted from The Borrowers. (Another example of his interest in storytelling from the UK).

This one is not in my top five Ghibli films, but I do prefer Arrietty to Yonebayashi’s other feature for the studio, When Marnie was There.

Ultimately, what keeps this one from climbing up the ranking in my mind, is the ending, which felt a little flat compared to the rest of the film… but I won’t try to claim that it’s a bad ending, because that’d be an exaggeration, I reckon.

What I loved most was the clear ‘world-within-a-world’ that existed in the film, with the borrowers having not only their own home and cast-off possessions, but that different perspective on human homes.

It’s a warm, intimate world where little is wasted and ‘simple’ tasks take on more epic dimensions – like that first quest for sugar. (Those scenes show the same beautiful attention to detail Ghibli is known for, mirrored in the natural world too, but for me I think of the house most whenever I remember Arrietty.)

I won’t ramble on much longer, but the tension between the Arriety and Sho’s storylines eventually meeting is great, and I always find it sad but sweet when he tries to switch the kitchen around. But of course – in the end, he cannot help Arrietty and her family, as the power of one small boy cannot fully stand up to the cruelty of the adult world.

Still, Arrietty isn’t a tragedy, so there’s an ultimately uplifting ending in store if you’ve never seen this one 🙂

4 Stars

14 thoughts on “Arrietty (Kari-gurashi no Arietti)

  1. Great review, for a movie which I really enjoyed. I didn’t hate the ending but I do agree that there was more potential for a better ending so to speak. (Not to mention there was room for a sequel). That said it’s still an amazing movie, and the world within a world was definitely one of the things that I myself liked about it as well 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How lovely is that other world, yeah 🙂

      I wonder if what I was craving from the ending was a bit of ‘extra’ happiness? Like, to actually see them in a new home and not have to assume that the move worked out?

      (Still, it wouldn’t have been as bittersweet if I got that visual confirmation, perhaps).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It was a melancholy story beautifully animated and sensitively told. I cried buckets at the ending, but it was really the only possible one for the characters involved. Also, please mention the amazing soundtrack by one of my favorite artists, Cecile Corbel (a Breton harpist)–she really nailed the emotional nuances of both the story itself and the film specifically. . .

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That’s one movie that I wanted to see in order to check out more of Yonebayashi’s work as a director. When I first heard about the movie, I thought it was a Ghibli rip-off of The Littles until I found out about The Borrowers book which actually existed first.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Miyazaki’s love for British children’s literature strikes again, huh?

      I think you’d enjoy this one – for me it’s stronger than ‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower’ too, maybe the smaller stakes help in that regard for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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