The Secret World of Arrietty
Destined to be ranked as one of the most powerful films of 2012. You will love it, pure and simple.
The Secret World of Arrietty is a brilliant film on every level. As passionate as it is beautiful, it is certain to be nominated for an Oscar this coming year. But please don’t be misled by the fact that The Secret World of Arrietty is an animated film. Seen with or without kids, it has a human spirit that captures you from the opening scene, and it has an emotional resonance that will likely cling to you long after leaving the theater.
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, it tells the tale of a minuscule group of extraordinarily tiny people, known as “The Borrowers”, who are forced to maintain complete anonymity while living in homes owned by those referred to as human beings. “The Borrowers” draw their name from the fact that they must access necessary items from their unsuspecting hosts in order to survive.
Arrietty, a teenage Borrower, lives with her mother and father, and their lives turn upside down when she inadvertently makes contact with a human boy of her own age who comes to visit. Despite the fact that this soon requires that her family consider relocating to a new home in order to preserve their lives, her troubled life is horribly complicated by both her friendship with the boy and the added discovery that he is about to have serious heart surgery.
This movie is about the glue that holds a family together on multiple levels. While death is an inevitable part of life everywhere, the “Borrowers” know that you have to face the continual unknown with love and courage.
This is not only a movie that will inevitably touch your heart, but it surprisingly causes you to confront the reality of your very soul. Here you have two teenagers from different worlds drawn together in violation of the fundamental principles that control their lives, causing monumental risk to both of them. As they both fight to survive, unashamed decency enables them to face the inevitable moment when they have to say goodbye.
While many people have shied away from the Oscar nominated The Artist because they simply couldn’t buy into a silent film, many people are likely to leave The Secret World of Arrietty at arm’s length because they can’t imagine an animated film with a Japanese director being worth the effort. On the other hand, it is important to understand that several of the actors lending their voice to the film are Bridgit Mendler, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler and Carol Burnett. Should you bypass this film you will tragically overlook that it is, like The Artist, a sublime romantic film.
Simply stated, you end up rooting for Arrietty and her teenage human acquaintance in the same way as you do the two stars of The Artist. As much as it will break your miserable heart, you watch these two young people join forces to save Arrietty’s family, inevitably haunted by the gut wrenching fact that they are going to have to say goodbye forever in the end. It proves to be a majestic moment, and I suspect that you will seldom be more enthralled when you are faced with leaving the theater.