My Neighbor Totoro - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

My Neighbor Totoro Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 26, 2013
An enchanting movie for children, so beautiful in its wonderful simplicity, innocence and sweetness that it feels like almost impossible not to be touched by such an adorable story devoid of clichés and with no need to rely on villains or contrived conflicts.
Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2014
Not usually the biggest Miyazaki fan, but maybe I just needed to try out one of his kid movies. I could actually figure out what was going on in this one, and it was sweet and whimsical, if still a bit slow.
366weirdmovies
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2011
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).
sanjurosamurai
Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2007
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.
axadntpron
Super Reviewer
March 28, 2011
Just when I thought I was turning into a grizzled old man, My Neighbor Totoro helped me enjoy a joyful regression. Much like Satsuke and Mei, the heroines of this story, I couldn't be more thrilled to shout that "I saw Totoro!" Miyazaki's exploration of the magical nature of children is incredibly sweet without be saccharine. It doesn't try to preach the importance of such a puerile mind, but just serves as a remembrance of its beauty. And in circumstances such as the sickness of loved ones, how hard it is to hold on to that innocence.
The animation is stunning for being released in the late 80s. After seeing Pixar push the limits of animation with every new release, this film reminded me that any film can be groundbreaking if it is treated with care.
The characters are earnestly thought out and I forgot at times that I was watching animated characters. Which is an impressive feat for me, a man who hasn't always been in love with the medium. Mei's inability to understand time and seeing her ask whether it is lunch time just minutes after her breakfast is consumed are small touches that really got me immersed in her world. That childhood belief that no time is more important than your own time is just one of the many things that Miyazaki captures beautifully.
I have been putting off my Miyazaki marathon for years now for fear that I would be a wet blanket. Souring people's love of one of the most highly regarded animators of all time. After my viewing of My Neighbor Totoro, I am getting the feeling that there isn't much one man can do to sour such magical experiences.
Super Reviewer
½ November 21, 2010
Anyone familiar with the animated works of Hayao Miyazaki will be aware that he takes you into a fantasy world full of imagination and delight. I've managed to work my way through a lot of his film's but this one had always eluded me. Maybe it was my anticipation for this that left me feeling slightly underwhelmed than I normally am with his films though.
Satsuki (Dakota Fanning) and Mei Kusakabe (Elle Fanning) are two young sisters who move to a rural house in Japan to be closer to their ailing mother in hospital. Upon their arrival, they begin to explore their new surroundings and find that there are strange little creatures who inhabit the old building and further exploration into the forest brings them closer to a giant furry sprite named Totoro, who they go magical adventures with.
Miyazaki's film takes it's time to get going. It starts off positively and there is an early introduction to his fantastical nature but he never fully explores it. It was more of a human drama than it was a fantasy adventure. However, no-one does it quite like Miyazaki and his film's always possess a refreshing vitality. This still delivers on that front but isn't as accomplished as "Spirited Away" for example. I think the main problem rests in the pace of the film; it too lethargic for children and a little too heavy on the drama. The fantasy element is wonderful when it gets going but it's not explored as in-depth as I would have liked, leaving my concentration to wander. The fact that this is included in the IMDb top 250 is high praise indeed but it shouldn't be held any higher than "Howl's Moving Castle".
I also found the English language version a little off-putting. I mean, how hard can it be to add dubbing over hand drawn animation? It's not as if there should be a problem with lip-syncing but for some reason, this didn't seem natural. Speaking of the animation though, it is quite exquisitely crafted and proof that Miyazaki has been at the forefront of hand drawn material for quite some time now.
Not as entertaining as I would expect from Miyazaki but still a wonderfully endearing and affectionate tale from the hand-drawn Sensei.
RCCLBC
Super Reviewer
½ April 18, 2008
The story is not as well developed as some of the other Myazaki films, but it is enchanting in it's own way.
I always enjoy going on these little journeys that the folks at Studio Ghibli put together.
Some are better then others, but they are always enjoyable.
TomBowler
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2011
Baffling, joyful and beautiful. Aka, pure Miyazaki. Full review later.
deano
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2009
This is one of the lovelist children's film ever made. Poetic, charming and cute. Featuring stunning animation, endearing personable characters, and a heart-tugging storyline that's simple, enchanting, and even dramatic. In fact, director Hayako Miyazaki makes us loving children. In the movie, the two girls run, shout all time, laugh, cry and so on that touches us deep in our heart.
The Japanese animated film has great direction, beautiful backgrounds and a mystical, pleasant aura throughout. There is no compulsory villain, no moral lessons, no standard blue print story, and the characters will definitely not break out a song.
Miraculously, Totoro doesn't talk, and yet you can still understand what the lovable furry creature is thinking with his endearing actions. And the six-legged CatBus is undeniably one of the most imaginative characters in animation history.
FilmFanatik
Super Reviewer
½ June 16, 2011
Another Miyazaki animated masterpiece. While it isn't my favorite of his work, it's still quite beautiful and very enjoyable. Unfortunately, there are very great big gaps of nothing really happening, which tends to slow the thing down. The scenes with Totoro and the Catbus seem to come straight out of Wonderland and are quite whimsical. I liked this one a lot and hope to see it again sometime. :)
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2009
An absolutely charming animation from Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. A university professor and his two young daughters move into an old house in the country. Left to her own devices while her father is at work, her mother is recovering from an illness in hospital and her elder sister is at school, Mei, the younger girl, explores her new surroundings, stumbling upon (literally) the local forest spirit, whom she names 'Totoro'. Such is the loving care that Miyazaki takes to craft a realistic setting for his magical tale to unfold in, the background detail is frequently at least as compelling as the story itself. There are some fascinating glimpses into the Japanese rural way of life, such as the kids being let out of school to go and work in the rice fields. A virtuoso balancing act, My Neighbor Totoro is sweet but never sickly and manages to convey some powerful ideas about ecological and communal harmony without being the least bit preachy. I also love the way that, though he is most likely only humouring the girls and feeding their imaginations, the father's explanations of the phenomena his daughters are witnessing invariably turn out to be true. Beautiful.
Super Reviewer
June 22, 2007
I think liking this movie is contingent on whether you find Totoro cute. And I don't.
DreamExtractor
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2011
I really enjoyed this, great animation and story, but nothing lives up to Spirited Away.
3niR
Super Reviewer
April 9, 2010
Another great animation from Ghibli. I've always wondered what's that first picture of a rabbit type animal with Studio Ghibli written on it. Now I know that it's Totoro! It's a great treat for your eyes. The story is simple and cute. Sometimes I feel Hayao Miyazaki's movies are better than the Disney!

p.s: I've seen mothers showering with their daughters by being naked, but this is the first time I'm seeing a father instead. This is weird as the elder one is 10yrs old. Old enough to understand certain things like this.
Ariuza k.
Super Reviewer
December 26, 2010
I loved this movie when I was young and I still love it today I thinks its amazing I cant really tell if this is my favorite movie by Miyazaki. I just think everything about is it fantastic from its story right down to the smallest things that no one sees. I love Totoro he is the mascot for Studio Ghibli its impossible not to love him. I think out of all the Studio Ghibli Characters Totoro is my favorite.

In 1956 Two young girls, Satsuke and her younger sister Mei, move into a house in the country with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother. Satsuke and Mei discover that the nearby forest is inhabited by magical creatures called Totoro and his little followers. They soon become friends with the creature.

I am not sure what I love more the story? The characters? Or just really everything. I have said it before and I will say it again Miyazaki has a massive imagination that just gives us some of the best movies ever made, how he can make such movies is beyond me. I think the characters Satsuke and Mei are extremely likeable I think my favourite character is Totoro is course but besides him maybe Mei. Really the other characters are great too.

The quality is just amazing how they do it for the time is beyond me. The music and desinds of really everything is nothing short of epic. I also really liked that short Mei and the kitten bus same just epic.

I come to a close it is really impossible to hate this movie.
Movie Monster
Super Reviewer
August 6, 2010
Welcome to my 200th review!

I'm going to put "Christmas Movie Review Mania" for a small pause right now to write my 200th review. For some reason, I want to do it on a non-Christmas film. My 200th review will be on a Hayao Miyazaki anime masterpiece, "My Neighbor Totoro". Gosh, I love this movie!

In "Totoro", two sisters known as Satsuki and Mei move to the Japanese countryside with their father. They like their new house and all but strange things occur around it. They see weird black, dusty creatures and small, gray furry creature that can disappear when frightened. They also encouter a big, furry, gray creature who they call "Totoro". The two girls then begin to do amazing, and sometimes bizarre things, with the cretures they meet.

Like a lot of anime films, the animation is dazzling, brilliant, and very detailed. The design of the setting and characters is a wonder. Lets move on to the characters.

Satsuki and Mei are wonderful protagonists. They are realistic and fun. Two of the best female protaginists in the history of cinema. Their father, despite having a small role, is funny. The girls' mother, who has a very small role, is sweet and realisitc. Totoro and the other creatures are magnificentely designed and concieved. The creatures are so wonderful. The way Miyazaki pictures them makes you wish that they were real and that they were your friends.

The story is very good. You can see that Miyazaki took some influence from some other works but adds a lot of his own good flair. The musis is well composed and catchy. You'll be humming the score for weeks!

Lastly, the voice acting is great. The Fanning sisters, Dakota and Elle, add some great voicework into Satsuki and Mei. Frank Welker was great as Totoro too!

"My Neighbor Totoro" is a amazing and heartwarming anime film. A classic! Any age group will enjoy it!

"Trees and people used to be good friends."
thefog1331
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2010
Along with Spirited Away this is Miyazaki's best work and a shining, perfect example of old school animation. I have watched this more times than some of my favorite horror movies.
MeetMeinMontauk
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
Cutest movie!! Sweet, innocent and simply lovely.
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