119. The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

Borrowed, but still fresh

Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Written by : Mary Norton (novel), Hayao Miyazaki (screenplay)
Starring: Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett

As much as we all enjoyed the slapstick humour and cheesy quality of the 1997 adaptation of Mary Horton’s novel, ‘The Borrowers’, Studio Ghibli gives a new burst of energy to a borrowed concept of little people and big adventures.

You can read the shock on his face

Relocated to a quiet suburban house in Tokyo, The Secret World of Arrietty keeps the same characters of fourteen year old Arrietty, her mother Homily and her father Pod, who are featured in the original novel. Sticking the same plot, and without having to divulge in whacky humour or special effects, this Japanese adaptation remains faithful to Horton’s story, whilst simultaneously giving the Borrowers the vibrant and lively touch of hand-drawn animation.

While this latest release from the same creators of Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke doesn’t have the same level of fantastical elements and mind-boggling creativity, it is a light and beautifully created film that captures the adventurous and bold spirit of Horton’s novel – easing into the comfort zones of what young Western audiences are familiar with, without losing the magical quality Ghibli offers time and time again.


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