The Secret World of Arrietty review

Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Will Arnett
Bridgit Mendler
David Henrie
Amy Poehler
Rated: G

Surprisingly not directed by Hayao Miyazaki…

The Secret World of Arrietty is the latest film from Studio Ghibli which has been behind such films as “Spirited Away” and “Ponyo.” In this film, the story centers on the character Arrietty, a 14-year-old girl who happens to be a ‘borrower’, which is basically a little person. Her and her family live beneath a large house and borrow things that most people would over look.

The borrowers try to stay out of sight for fear of what would happen if they are discovered. This happens to Arrietty though as a boy who just moved in named Shawn sees her. The two start a bit of a friendship however this causes a bit of an uproar with Arrietty and her family.

The Secret World of Arrietty has a lot of heart and a bit of charm to it, however none of it really ever gets utilized. The story just feels a bit lack luster, as it goes on, there’s not a lot of major things really happening. Arrietty’s character arc doesn’t really go anywhere, at the end of the film, it felt like she hadn’t learned or changed in any significant way.

That being said, Arrietty had the most development out of all the characters. Her mother and father are both very stock and have almost no depth. To make matters worse, the boy Shawn seems a bit bland and his connection with Arrietty is never really felt. I never saw any real chemistry between the two to give legitimacy to their friendship.

The animation department, as it does in all Studio Ghibli films, got it right though. The animation is absolutely gorgeous having very lush backgrounds and vibrant colors. It’s a fantastic visual experience. The music is also well done and adds to moments in the film.

“The Secret World of Arrietty” is by no means a bad film, however it’s nothing great.

While having beautiful animation and a nice score, the characters didn’t feel developed and I never got attached to them really which dragged it down a bit. This one gets a 3 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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