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Film Review: Arrietty

Posted on the 17 January 2013 by Donnambr @_mrs_b

About Arrietty (2010)Arrietty Film Review: ArriettyArrietty is the latest release from Studio Ghibli, based on the classic children’s book The Borrowers. Tiny 14 year old Arrietty lives under the floorboards of an old house with her father and mother. Their peaceful life is dramatically changed when the ever curious Arrietty accidentally allows herself to be seen by Sho, a poorly and lonesome 12 year old human boy. The fledgling friendship between the two lonely children causes Haru the housekeeper to become aware of the borrowers’ existence. The family of little borrowers are forced to choose between staying in their well-established home or leaving for the uncertainty of the great outdoors.


Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Olivia Colman, Mark Strong

Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Runtime: 91 minutes

Studio: Buena Vista

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Review: Arrietty 

Based on the Mary Norton’s novel, The Borrowers, Arrietty is one of the latest efforts from renowned animation wizards – Studio Ghibli. I’m used to reviewing the works of Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata but with this film the reins were handed to Hiromasa Yonebayashi and he has done a great job as director.

Arrietty tells the story of Sho, a teenager sent to stay with his great aunt, Sadako, and the maid, Haru. Sho has been told to rest due to his bad heart but no sooner does he arrive at the house than he encounters Arrietty, a Borrower, who lives with her parents – Pod and Homily – beneath the floorboards. Now a teenager herself, Arrietty begins heading out at night with her father and borrowing items from the house such as sugar cubes, while evading the many threats such as the household cat, Niya. Despite her father’s warnings, Arrietty finds herself striking up a friendship with Sho but can the Borrowers remain out of danger?

This is another beautifully animated piece from Studio Ghibli. My previous experience of them was with the disappointing Ponyo, which remains the only anime from Miyazaki that has left me feeling disappointed. I’ve never lost my faith in Studio Ghibli despite that minor blip but Arrietty has consolidated the quality of these illustrious animators.


The storyline is an effective one with the resourceful Arrietty following in her father’s footsteps as a talented Borrower but the future of her family is thrown into jeopardy with the arrival of Sho. Becoming friends with the boy, Arrietty is young and misguided in the threat the boy may inadvertently pose. What with the nosy maid and the cat always nearby, the Borrowers begin to question whether it is safe for them to remain in the house long-term. Sho is a fragile boy, severely reduced by his delicate heart, but despite this setback he is tender and caring, only wanting to befriend Arrietty and help her.


Arrietty has some great set-pieces as the Borrowers traverse the household in search of items to replenish their wilting supplies. We only have a small cast of characters here but they’re all memorable including the taciturn Spiller who appears in the latter stages and is clearly drawn to Arrietty but has a strange way of showing it. This film marks a welcome return to form for Studio Ghibli after the disappointment of Ponyo. All the family should find something to enjoy here despite some poignant moments, especially the ending.

Verdict: 4/5

(Film source: reviewer’s own copy)

Film Review: Arrietty | Thank you for reading Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave


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