I Saw A Film Today… The Secret World of Arrietty

Roger Ebert once wrote that a film critic should “have nothing to do” with movie trailers. So when the yearly ritual of choosing a New Year’s resolution came about, I decided to give up trailers in order to follow the advice of the seasoned godfather critic. Not to say I haven’t fallen off the bandwagon a few times. I have sneaked a few peeks at Prometheus and Moonrise Kingdom. But for the most part I have stayed away from them. And it has genuinely made my movie going experience better. My local theater makes it pretty easy as well. I mean, tonight before the screening of Arrietty they were still showing the trailer for Chipwrecked.


Arietty (voiced by Bridgit Mendler) is an energetic and adventurous young girl. She enjoys roaming the forest and nature in general. And she’s only ten centimeters tall. She is a “borrower” who lives under the floorboards of a home with her mother (Amy Poehler) and her father Pod (Will Arnett). They survive by “borrowing” items that would be overlooked by the family the live under, such things as a single sugar cube and tissue paper which will last them for a very long time.

At the same time that Arrietty goes on her first borrowing with Pod, a new human “bean” named Shawn (David Henrie) has come to stay at the house, which is owned by his great-aunt Jessica (Gracie Poletti). Shawn’s mother once told him that there were little people living under the floorboards and eventually comes face to face with Arrietty. This encounter makes Pod think about finding a new place to live. But will the tiny borrowers be discovered by other members of the household before they can pack up?

Arrietty was an enchanting film that immediately emerges you into a world of fantasy. Once again Studio Ghilbli and Hayao Miyazaki have found magic in their unique brand of film making. It’s a mixture of old and new animation, with the new being lightly used. It truly is a beautifully animated film.

Personally, this film came at a time when my interest in Japanese cinema has been growing. Anime and Samurai films especially. There’s just something about the care these wonderfully productive people put into their work. As I’ve said in the past, take note Hollywood.

The voice talent was also pretty great here. Saturday Night Live alums Will Arnett and Amy Poehler provided the voices of Arrietty parents and do a surprisingly good job. At times Poehler’s recording seemed to be slightly off but was good none-the-less. And although Bridgit Mendler is unknown to me (looking at her resume, Disney Channel viewers should recognize her voice), I was rather impressed. On another note, I would love to hear the UK dub of this film. Mark Strong and Saoirse Ronan are enough to peak my interest.

Sometimes words fail me to fully elaborate on certain films. My apologies for that. But then again, I don’t really want to reveal everything to you. That, like a trailer, would take the magic away. I would never want to do that. And I think you should experience the magic of The Secret World of Arrietty. Especially if you have kids.

Verdict: SEE IT!

*Rated G.


2 Responses to “I Saw A Film Today… The Secret World of Arrietty”

  1. I saw this just after I’d started my Ghibli/Miyazaki viewing frenzy. I’ve powered through Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa, Castle in the Sky and Tales from Earthsea so far. Arrietty is completely magical – I’m hoping to see it up for an Academy Award next year or something like that.

    Our cinema actually had the British dub rather than the American. I’m not sure how different they’d be, but it was so easy to recognise Mark Strong as Pod – his voice was so distinctive, haha.

  2. I have heard nothing but positive reviews of this film. I may have to try and convince the fellas to check it out this week. Nice review.

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