The Secret World of Arrietty: A Beautiful Anime Spin on The Borrowers
dir. Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Gary Rydstrom
Forget the 1992 BBC miniseries The Borrowers, or John Goodman’s 1997 adaptation (if you haven’t already) of Mary Norton’s classic children’s book. Studio Ghibli presents a quietly compelling anime version of the story, written by Spirited Away’s Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. The film masterfully demonstrates the worldview of the borrowers via rapid pullback shots, their small stature fully realized when Arrietty’s mother gets trapped in a jar. The film is packed with special little details—like when Arrietty uses a leaf as an umbrella and flies through the yard trying to avoid an entanglement with a grasshopper—and loud, comical, emotional outbursts by Arrietty’s worrisome mother and the cunning housekeeper. Despite the inherent dangers of Arrietty’s world, the landscape looks slightly like an impressionistic painting and the wind is always whistling through the trees.