About half way through The Secret Life of Arrietty, I had something trigger in my mind that may have happened once as a child. I felt myself wanting to enter the movie through the screen. The animation of Studio Ghibli is, as far as I am concerned, the most gorgeous in the world.
Based off of the book “The Borrowers”, the movie starts as Shawn (David Henrie, former Disney Channel Star) is moving in with his Aunt. He catches a glimpse of something in the garden, and we find out it is a little person (known as a borrower). This is the hi-spirited and kind-hearted Arrietty (Bridget Mendler, another former Disney Channel Star). She lives with her parents, Homily (Amy Poehler) and Pod (Will Arnett). Homily is a stay at home type mom, who tends to worry a lot (portrayed wonderfully by Poehler). Pod is the stern but loving father who knows the humans are dangerous no matter what (he also looked a bit like Harrison Ford to me).
As Pod takes Arrietty on her first “borrowing”, they are accidently noticed by Shawn (though Pod does not know he sees them). This is trouble, for if borrowers are seen, they must move. Shawn soon gets a message to Arietty to let her know he means no harm.
I had very little knowledge of this film before I saw it (though I remembered seeing a live action version of “The Borrowers” as a child). When it ended, I did not intend to feel as refreshed as I did. It should come as no surprise of the beauty of the film, but I was surprised by how much I felt for the characters. The thing I realized is that, as in most of all Studio Ghibli’s films, the main male character does have a friendship with the main female character, but it never goes to romance. In a way, this is refreshing to me.
I have two minor issues with the film. First, like all great films, it is too short. Secondly, I did not feel there were enough characters to support Arietty and Shawn. Still, parents, this film is perfect for any child or adult to view. There are some scary parts, some sad parts, some (underrated) humorous parts, and they all come together to make a world not meant to be secret.
Recently, I told a friend how much I liked this film, and he said all of Studio Ghibli’s films are like magic. I responded, “No, they are magic.”
Overall: Four and a Half Stars ****1/2