Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside; an emotionally distant adolescent girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there; a girl who may or may not be real.
The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.
College student Hana falls in love with another student who turns out to be a werewolf, who dies in an accident after their second child. Hana moves to the rural countryside where her husband grew up to raise her two werewolf children.
When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.
A young girl is sent to the country for health reasons, where she meets an unlikely friend in the form of Marnie, a young girl with flowing blonde hair. As the friendship unravels it is possible that Marnie has closer ties to the protagonist than we might expect. Written by
Studio Ghibli's final film before taking their longest break from film-making. See more »
The Victrola in The Marsh Mansion came from the 1920's, but it has an S-shape tone arm. The designers should have looked at this machine from that era on YouTube. (Search for 1920 Victrola.) See more »
A Love Story, A Coming-of-Age Drama & A Journey Into One's Own Past
The last film to be produced under the Studio Ghibli banner before the acclaimed animation studio decided to take a break from filmmaking following the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki, When Marnie Was There is an elegantly crafted & gorgeously animated tale that intertwines dreams with reality as well as past with present, only to end up getting entangled in its own web.
Based on the novel of the same name, When Marnie Was There follows Anna; a 12-year old girl who takes a trip to a countryside town for health reasons and discovers an abandoned mansion where she finds an unlikely friend in Marnie; a blond girl. As their new relationship blossoms over the next few days & both get to know each other better, it is unraveled that Anna is more closely related to Marnie than expected.
Nicely directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, When Marnie Was There is his sophomore effort following his debut feature, The Secret World of Arrietty, which remains my favourite Studio Ghibli film to be not directed by Miyazaki. And although his latest is no doubt an ambitious work, its pay-off won't be rewarding enough emotionally unless the viewers try to connect the dots all by themselves by doing a little digging of their own.
The technical aspects are expertly carried out for each frame of it is sumptuously animated & vividly photographed from start to finish. Editing tries to juggle various elements of story at once & doesn't always succeed. However, there isn't any issue with the pacing for its 103 minutes of runtime never becomes tedious at any given moment. Also, the background score brims with tracks that infuse a soothing feel into the narrative.
The Japanese voice cast is only as fitting as the studio's previous works. However, it's the beautiful relationship between Anna & Marnie that leaves the biggest mark. The film can be viewed as a coming-of-age drama that follows the journey of Anna from a lonely & anxious girl at the beginning of the film to a more confident person later in the story. Marnie herself exhibits an aura of mystery around her that not only allures Anna but us viewers as well.
On an overall scale, When Marnie Was There isn't as magical as Studio Ghibli's finest films but its take on friendship & isolation nonetheless manages to cast a spell of its own in bits n pieces which makes its story captivating for a while. A love story, a coming-of-age tale & a deep journey into one's own past, When Marnie Was There may or may not benefit from multiple viewings but for now, it has to settle for an underwhelming experience in my book. Still, it's worth a shot!
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