Monday, December 25, 2023

"The Secret World of Arrietty"

I find myself rewatching "The Secret World of Arrietty" multiple times. The world of Arrietty is the world of the Borrowers, from books written by Mary Norton. I think I read at least one of these books from the library when I was a kid. This version of the story involves Arrietty, and Sean, a sickly child staying at an old family countryside home to prepare for heart surgery. Arrietty is a spunky Ghilbli heroine who is utterly brave and likable. Sean, the ill human "bean," is a good hearted, lonely boy who just wants to be friends. The relationship of Arrietty's family is healthy and supportive. Arriety is a bit too adventurous, which leads to being discovered by Sean. This puts the Borrowers existence in danger. I am trying to figure out why I like the story. It's not filled with fantastical creatures like in "Spirited Away" or "Princess Mononoke" (although I admit little teeny people are fantastical) but they are just little teeny humans not No-Face creatures or giant magical, trippy elks. This Ghibli movie is just so beautiful. The green colors of the garden and the design of the old, Meiji-era and modern era fusion of a house is almost another character. The Irish-ish music is really unique and is refreshing. The concept of teeny people living amongst us is fun. The difference in physical scale between Arrietty and Sean whenever they interact is perfect. The details about how the Borrowers use our everyday objects like pins and kettles is delightful. Arrietty and Sean have the whisper of a teen romance that is actually very sweet. There isn't much exposition or lore explained, and the ending is rather open ended. But I think that adds a sense of mystery and wonder to the whole story that doesn't dumb anything down. It's a movie that has the wonder of childhood where the backyard is a secret world.