Arrietty (2010)

A lovely, inventive film about a family of tiny people living in a regular-sized house, and the antics they get up to foraging and making a life for themselves. I’m not familiar with the books the film is actually based on, but it reminded me of similar antics of scale from Terry Pratchett’s Nome/Bromeliad trilogy.

The typical Studio Ghibli attention to detail works wonders here, and everything is imbued with such life and creativity…even the cockroaches are drawn lovingly and come across as cute.

29Arrietty

The film’s source of conflict is a bit much at times. I tend to prefer when Ghibli films go more direct with a villain and really dive into them (like in Princess Mononoke) or forgo a villain entirely (My Neighbour Totoro); having a halfway hapless villain feels like the worst of two worlds to me.

Still, the bulk of the film is external conflict-free. The exploratory vibe is always wondrous. The sound design does wonders in really making the perspective of the world come alive in its tiny might. The human characters can seem relatable and sympathetic or godly and terrifying depending on how the film frames them, as do a lot of the animals, like a crow in a particularly alarming sequence. The film ends on a nice mature moment too, not pitching the end too emotionally in one direction or the other. Three and a half sugar cubes, and a dollhouse.

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