The works of Studio Ghibli are nothing short of cinematic masterpieces. Each film, from Spirited Away to My Neighbor Totoro, is a testament to the boundless creativity and passion of the studio’s creators. These films are a breath of fresh air in a world of poorly made 3D animation blockbusters, Ghibli films are overflowing with soul and emotion. Even one of their lesser-known films, The Secret World of Arrietty (know also simply as Arietty), has quickly become an enchanting and heartwarming piece for me.
I am in awe of the beauty and magic of Studio Ghibli’s works, and Arrietty is a shining example of why.
How to Download Arrietty (The Secret World of Arrietty)
You can download the film from a digital store. You can also stream it. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice.
The Movie Review
The Secret World of Arrietty follows the story of a young boy named Sho who has a heart condition and is neglected by his parents. He moves to the house of his Aunt Sadako, where he is depressed by the absence of his mother.
Meanwhile, a tiny girl named Arrietty lives in the underground of Sadako’s house with her father, Pad, and her mother, Homily. They are Borrowers, tiny people who collect simple things they need in the house.
One day, Sho sees Arrietty in the garden, and during the night, she joins her father for her first harvest. Arrietty accidentally drops a sugar cube in Sho’s bedroom, and Sho is made aware of their existence. Arrietty’s parents decide to move to another place since they have been discovered by an inhabitant of the house.
But there is the menace of Haru, the housemaid, who wants to capture the tiny people. The story follows Arrietty’s adventure as she tries to save her family and her relationship with Sho, as the two form an unlikely friendship.
As I approached The Secret World of Arrietty, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of familiarity. Having already encountered The Borrowers in other forms, I wondered if Ghibli’s adaptation would offer something truly original. But as I delved deeper into the film, I was pleasantly surprised.
Ghibli’s interpretation of the story was a masterful balance of realism and fantasy. The characters were imbued with depth and nuance, and their designs and motives were toned down to create a more grounded and engaging experience.
The father was a stoic and loving presence, Arriety was a spunky and relatable protagonist, and even the smallest of details, such as the inclusion of the feline companion Niya, added to the charm of the film.
The merging of the world of the borrowers and the human beings was seamless, and the designs were nothing short of breathtaking. Ghibli has once again proven their ability to elevate a familiar tale to new heights.
The voice acting in The Secret World of Arrietty is truly outstanding, both in the original Japanese version and the English dubbed version.
In the original Japanese version, the performances of Mirai Shida as Arrietty and Tomokazu Miura as Sho are particularly noteworthy, as they bring a sense of warmth and emotion to the characters, which is truly captivating.
The English dubbed version of the film features a phenomenal voice cast, including notable actors such as Bridgit Mendler as Arrietty, Amy Poehler as Homily, Will Arnett as Pod, Carol Burnett as Haru, and David Henrie as Sho.
Each actor brings their own unique energy to the film, and their performances are a perfect match for the characters they portray.
The English dubbing is well done, and it is a joy to watch the characters come to life through voice acting.
The canvases of Studio Ghibli’s films are a wonder to behold, the colors and textures blending together to create a tapestry of ethereal beauty. The Secret World of Arrietty, like all Ghibli films, is a feast for the eyes, with even the most mundane of backgrounds rendered in the delicate strokes of a master painter.
While other Ghibli films transport us to fantastical lands, Arrietty takes us on a journey through the familiar, yet seen through new eyes, the familiar details of an ordinary home take on a new and captivating beauty.
It is this simplicity, and the loving attention to detail, that makes Arrietty one of the most visually striking of all Ghibli films.
One of the standout features of the film is the realism of the character movement. Studio Ghibli is known for its attention to detail and realism, and Arrietty is no exception.
The characters move in a way that feels natural and lifelike, as opposed to the stiff and robotic movement often seen in other animated films. The animation team has done an excellent job of capturing the nuances of human movement and translating that into the animated characters.
The subtle gestures and expressions of the characters add a level of realism to the film that immerses the audience in the story. This realism extends to the environment as well, with the film’s attention to detail in the textures and lighting of the different locations, making the film visually stunning.
Regarding the score by Cécile Corbel, I’ll admit that at first, I was a little dubious, but in the end, the music matched the film wonderfully well and turned into another fantastic Ghibli soundtrack, which says something when you’re ranked alongside Hisaishi Joe, don’t you think?
The meandering Celtic feel, along with some great vocal performance, made the music pretty stunningly suited for this melancholy subject. The tranquil atmosphere of Arriety is quite soothing, and Cecile Corbel’s music is a factor that enhances the film more so than I can express in simple words.
This was Yonebashi’s first film as a filmmaker, and it was an absolutely fantastic debut. In the end, it was so excellent that I nearly cried, which in my many years as a film reviewer and viewer, has happened very infrequently. I really can’t think of another Ghibli film to compare it to because the movie had a sort of bittersweet tinge to it.
One of the more recent Ghibli masterpieces is The Secret Life of Arrietty, which is called also Arrietty the Borrower or simply Arrietty, a melancholic, masterful exploration of love and commitment.
- A phenomenal adaptation of The Borrowers, an emotional script with a beautifully written cast of characters
- The voice acting is so expressive and full of life, both in the original Japanese and English dub
- The visuals are so beautiful that it makes the real world feel colorless
- Cecile Corbel's music is an element that enhances the film
- The film can feel a bit slow for children, but those that wait it out will love it