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My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

tomatometer

92

Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 35 | Rotten: 3

My Neighbor Totoro is a heartwarming, sentimental masterpiece that captures the simple grace of childhood.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 2

My Neighbor Totoro is a heartwarming, sentimental masterpiece that captures the simple grace of childhood.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 85,247

My Rating

Movie Info

This superbly animated children's tale is directed by Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan's most beloved animators. The story follows Satsuke and Mei, two young girls who find that their new country home is in a mystical forest inhabited by a menagerie of mystical creatures called Totoros. They befriend O Totoro, the biggest and eldest Totoro, who is also the king of the forest. As their girls' mother lies sick in the hospital, O Totoro brings the sisters on a magical adventure but also helps them to

Mar 7, 2006

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All Critics (38) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (3) | DVD (21)

Obviously aimed at an international audience, the film evinces a disorienting combination of cultures that produces a nowhere land more confused than fascinating.

September 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (24)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The lack of sentimentality will be utterly refreshing to those raised on a diet of Disney.

June 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Too much of the film...is taken up with stiff, mechanical chitchat.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (14)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Here is a children's film made for the world we should live in, rather than the one we occupy.

January 6, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film that crosses generations and cultural barriers: watching it, it's hard not to feel like a kid again.

February 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

A beautifully observed film that has become a guaranteed charmer for all ages.

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Not as complex or tense as Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece, released 13 years later). Still, few things are.

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Despite the cuteness, there's little in the way of icky sentiment - indeed the spectre of death hangs over the story - but it's a captivating world you won't want to come home from.

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

The world the characters inhabit is less expressionist than impressionist, blessed with a delicate evocation of natural light and color that subtly incorporates Miyazaki's environmentalism.

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Perfect. Simple as.

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

An otherworldly tale of childhood and a definitive work of imagination.

May 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

With the finest rhythm of any Ghibli film, this masterwork gently see-saws the faint aches of youth with utter trust in the wonder of a nature-inspired imagination. In lulling, Ozu-like moments, the landscape twinkles in its beauty, like the film itself.

May 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

As a hangout movie for kids, My Neighbor Totoro pleases with its easygoing pace, curiosity about the natural world, and sweet spirit.

February 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

One of the best animated films ever made for families: it celebrates feminine sensitivity, the importance of the spirit world, respect for nature, and the pre-eminence of the spiritual practice of kindness.

March 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

While the fantasy and whimsy captures the playful imagination of children, a powerful undercurrent of emotional crisis grounds their experience...

March 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Seanax.com
Seanax.com

A soft, approachable film, about simple, peaceful emotions and characters. That may sound unambitious, but it is the most ambitious thing of all.

March 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Visually arresting and consistently compelling, this movie is magical.

March 6, 2010 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

Miyazaki's cinematic magic is so enchanting that even a slew of unremarkable extra features won't take the smile off your face.

March 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Miyazaki is a genius.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

The painted backgrounds are lush, realistic, and full of luxuriant foliage. The character animation, while stiff by Disney standards, is appropriate to the characters and expressive enough to bring them to life for the audience.

September 1, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

what Miyazaki has animated is an idyll, that most melancholic and nostalgic of genres, where landscapes vanish, innocence is lost and death is as much a part of nature as life.

August 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film | Comment (1)
Eye for Film

How can I describe its inexplicable power? It is like how childhood memories feel, if you had a happy childhood — wide-eyed and blissful, matter-of-factly magical and entrancingly prosaic…

August 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

Audience Reviews for My Neighbor Totoro

An enchanting film for children, so beautiful in all its simplicity, innocence and sweetness that it is hard not to be touched by it. A very adorable story that escapes easy clichés and does not need to rely on villains or contrived conflicts.
November 26, 2013
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

Two young girls befriend a forest spirit who lives in a tree near their country house. This early Hayao Miyazaki wonder has little conflict, suspense, or logic---not a bad thing, just different approach that is aimed at the mindset of girls aged about 4-8 years old, who will be hypnotized by the cuddly giant Totoro.
October 20, 2013
366weirdmovies
Greg S

Super Reviewer

The film that launched legendary animation director Hayao Miyazaki on the road to success and there's a reason why: it is simply a delightful masterpiece that demonstrates Miyazaki at his absolute best. In terms of plot this flick can be summed up in a single sentence (Two innocent little girls move into a rural town where they encounter the lovable forest spirit: Totoro) and there are zero conflicts or villains to speak of. This sounds off-putting at first but upon watching; the simplicity of the plot is what contributes to Totoro's charm.

Instead of focusing on plot, the film follows the various life situations faced by the film's adorable and lifelike little girls in the form of Satsuki and Mei. Most of the situations involve the two sisters settling down into their new homes and meeting their neighbors (both human and spirit). Sometimes the film is funny, sometimes it's scary, sometimes it's wondrous, and quite sad a few times but it all is held together by how it stays true to the essence of life in general. Kazuo Oga's beautiful background art gives great nuance to the forest settings and emits a warm nostalgic feel of nature's beauty. Even though some zany fantasy elements persist in the film (one highlight is the crazy but awesome cat-bus), the film never loses its sense of realism or emotional center. The big, silent, and playful Totoro is immediately endearing and it is very clear how he became the Winnie the Pooh of Japan.

The animation is absolutely exquisite and the music is simply wonderful. Sure to leave a smile and warm fuzzy feeling in anybody (If it didn't then you have no soul).
July 21, 2013
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

definitely one of miyazaki's best films, and one of my favorite animated films of all time. the story is so simple, yet so profound in terms of the underlying nuances of family life and what it means to be a child. totoro is a great character, and the imagery of many scenes such as the bus stop or the cat bus are ingrained into my mind. very effective animation.
August 21, 2012
sanjurosamurai
danny d

Super Reviewer

    1. Mei [Disney dub]: I caught one! Satsuki! Look!
    – Submitted by Facebook U (22 months ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • Mein Nachbar Totoro (DE)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (UK)
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