The Secret World of Arrietty (2012)
This adaptation of Mary Norton’s classic book, The Borrowers, is colorful, imaginative, and the antithesis of what has become the modern-day family film. It’s less antic with its pacing, it has a more somber mood, and the ending is essentially anticlimactic. While commendable on one hand, The Secret World of Arrietty is also a minor work under the tutelage of the brilliant Hayao Miyazaki. Like other Miyazaki works, the film immerses you into an imaginative world where all the details fit. The story itself within that world is a bit low-key. Arrietty is a 13-year-old tiny person, a Borrower, living with her mother and father inside a human being’s home (they refer to people phonetically as “beans”). Her friendship with one of those “beans,” a boy named Shawn, is pleasant and gradual, as she feels she cannot trust the enormous human. I kept waiting for something larger and more significant to happen, but it didn’t. The story feels too slight to justify being the introduction, and likely final, chapter of these characters. The world of Arrietty is beautiful to watch but after a while you’re just watching pretty pictures.
Nate’s Grade: B