Film review: ‘The Secret World of Arrietty’
Wed, Feb 15, 2012 (4:27 p.m.)
Unlike the previous live-action, big-screen adaptation of Mary Norton’s novel The Borrowers in 1997, the animated feature The Secret World of Arrietty by Japan’s Studio Ghibli pauses to admire a ladybug taking flight, or the sound of wind brushing against foliage. A tiny “borrower,” Arrietty (voiced by Bridgit Mendler), lives beneath the floorboards of a country home. But a full-sized “human bean,” Shawn (David Henrie), spots her, jeopardizing her family. Hayao Miyazaki co-wrote the screenplay and co-produced, and though the director is first-timer Hiromasa Yonebayashi, it still has the feel of classic Miyazaki (it veers closest to Kiki’s Delivery Service). It lacks the breakneck suspense that most kids’ movies hinge on, and some little ones might find their attention spans tested. Rather, the movie focuses on remarkable moments of visual discovery or reflection. This is beautiful, gentle storytelling at its finest.