The Borrower Arrietty (借りぐらしのアリエッティ- Karigurashi no Arietti) is yet another movie from the wonderful people at Studio Ghibli. It centers around the tale of a Borrower named Arrietty who lives with her mother and father beneath the floorboards of your average house. One day a boy with a heart condition, Sho, moves into the house. Upon his arrival, he managed to catch his first glimpse of Arrietty, but it was not to be his last. Despite the two very different worlds Sho and Arrietty come from, they manage to put a stop to the machinations of the maid Haru and they also forge a strong friendship that neither will forget.
This movie was everything I did not expect it to be.
To give some background, I was not looking forward to this movie at all when I first heard about it. My initial reaction to learning that it was going to be based off of The Borrowers by Mary Norton was to groan and pretend that I hadn’t just read that. The only contact I have had with The Borrowers comes from the movie they made of the same name in 1997. The borrowers in that movie…I don’t know what it was about them, but I just couldn’t find it within myself to like them. After mulling it over for a while, I’m pretty sure I didn’t like them because of their hair. It kind of…freaks me out, to say the least. Strike one for Ghibli’s Arrietty.
The other thing that had me wary of this new movie actually came from Ghibli itself: Ponyo. When I first saw some preview pictures of the movie, I was ecstatic! It was cute and adorable and it was from Ghibli! What could be wrong with that, right? Well, there was nothing wrong with it, I just found it disappointing. I am a huge fan of Ghibli movies and I definitely don’t like everything that they have produced, but Ponyo just left me feeling rather empty. The opening underwater sequence blew me away and then the rest of the movie came and it fizzled and spluttered. I really don’t like to spread my opinion about Ponyo because I can’t really explain the reasons behind it. The animation was phenomenal as usual and the story was pretty good too, but to me it was just missing that something that makes it special. And that was Strike two for Arrietty.
The third strike was supposed to be the movie itself, but that never came to pass and it still blows my mind! The story was simple, but well executed, the characters were all likeable, and the graphics were stunning! The Borrower Arrietty was, simply put, the embodiment of everything that makes Ghibli pros at what they do! It was amazing and I loved every single moment of it! A couple of hours after I finished this movie, I realized that this is the first time I have ever wanted a Ghibli movie to keep going! I never even thought that about my beloved Totoro!
All in all, I can safely say that The Borrower Arrietty just rocketed its way to the Number 2 spot on my list of Favorite Ghibli movies! Totoro still remains at the top in my heart, but Arrietty definitely left her mark there too!
And here’s some Totoro because I can!