The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

DailyView: Day 205, Movie 291

During the pandemic when we were isolated at home with little else to do, I started a watch of the Studio Ghibli films. I had purchased a DVD set of the whole group of shows, but it was a little skippy at times. I was enjoying the watch for the most part. After I arrived at Spirited Away though I lost my inspiration because it was so good, I just did not find it as vital to continue on after this.

Enter HBO Max. The streaming service had the entire catalog of Studio Ghibli films available to stream without any of the DVD troubles. Because of this, I decided to add some of the Studio Ghibli films to the DailyView. I chose to start with The Secret World of Arrietty.

Based on a novel called The Borrowers by Mary Norton, The Secret World of Arrietty was directed by the debuting Hiromasa Yonebayashi and was written by the iconic Hayao Miyazaki.

Arrietty was a Borrower, a group of tiny people just taller than a tree leaf, who would “borrow” items from the larger humans that they would not miss. It was said that if any Borrower was seen by a human, they needed to leave their home and find a new place to live because the human’s curiosity would never be satisfied.

On her way home one day, Arrietty was seen by the human boy, Shō, who was staying for the summer with his great aunt, Sadako. Shō was weak and frail as he had a heart defect and was preparing for surgery soon. He spotted Arrietty, who was on a “borrow” mission with her father Pod. She was stealing a sugar cube. When she realized that Shō had seen her, Arrietty dropped the sugar cube and she and her father left as quickly as they could.

Shō found the sugar cube and laid out another one as a replacement to hopefully show Arrietty that he was friendly. She was confused by the offering which seemed to be opposite what her parents had been saying about the humans. She went to see Shō several times, eventually befriending the boy.

The unlikely friendship is put to the test when the housemaid Haru realized what was happening and discovered Arrietty’s mother borrowing from the doll house that had been designed years ago as a hopeful present for the little people.

As always with Studio Ghibli, the animation is gorgeous. The hand drawing is so precise and intricate in every scene that the accomplishment is off the charts. There is a beauty contained in the artistry of this animation that many other animation studios just can never hope to reach.

I had a English voice cast and it was a significant group, including Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Bridgit Mendler, David Henrie and EYG Hall of Famer Carol Burnett.

The Secret World of Arrietty was a beautiful story of friendship and being able to put aside differences for the betterment of everyone.

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