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Spirited Away (2001)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 8.5/10
Reviews Counted: 165
Fresh: 160 | Rotten: 5

Spirited Away is a dazzling, enchanting, and gorgeously drawn fairy tale that will leave viewers a little more curious and fascinated by the world around them.

100

Average Rating: 8.7/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 0

Spirited Away is a dazzling, enchanting, and gorgeously drawn fairy tale that will leave viewers a little more curious and fascinated by the world around them.

audience

96

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 327,311

My Rating

Movie Info

Master animation director Hayao Miyazaki follows up on his record-breaking 1997 opus Princess Mononoke with this surreal Alice in Wonderland-like tale about a lost little girl. The film opens with ten-year-old Chihiro riding along during a family outing as her father races through remote country roads. When they come upon a blocked tunnel, her parents decide to have a look around -- even though Chihiro finds the place very creepy. When they pass through the tunnel, they discover an abandoned

Apr 15, 2003

$9.9M

Walt Disney Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (165) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (160) | Rotten (5) | DVD (48)

It's an amazing work, filled with a visual intelligence that's meticulously composed and obscenely clever.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Spirited Away has much to say about many worthy things: the life of the spirit, materialist greed, the importance of words, the power of love.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Enchanting and impressively crafted.

October 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Think you're too hip for Japanese anime about a lost ten-year-old girl whose parents turn into snorting pigs? Get over it.

August 14, 2007 | Comments (18)
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Initially seems like a Through the Looking-Glass fantasy, but rapidly picks up a resonance, weight and complexity that make it all but Shakespearean.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (2)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Miyazaki's nonstop images are so stunning, and his imagination so vivid, that the only possible complaint you could have about Spirited Away is that there is no rest period, no timeout.

November 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To watch Spirited Away feels like a special gift. It is a film of such startling imagination, originality, intelligence, and emotion that I feel inexplicable joy when the opening title card fades in.

February 16, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Miyazaki's luminescent, gorgeously realized world is relatively safe for children, but it also acknowledges blood, pain, dread, and death in ways that other animated films wouldn't dare.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Anything but your regular 'toon, it's a (literally) fantastic experience.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

At times it's even vaguely reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, only as if illustrated by Hieronymus Bosch. It's wonderful.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Director Hayao Miyazaki's insistence on hand-drawn graphics gives the CGI visuals an ethereal charm that ensures the story is always a pleasure to behold, even during its rare moments of inaction.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

...a gorgeously animated yet sporadically entertaining endeavor that isn't quite the instant classic one might've expected...

March 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (15)
Reel Film Reviews

Magnificent, spellbinding movie has a bit of edge.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Full of riches, thematic and visual, and the best way to understand them is simply to watch the film and take it all in.

March 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy | Comments (2)
Antagony & Ecstasy

Spirited Away exalts the young girl Chihiro's uncanny experiences into an adventure that is as thrillingly ambiguous as it is vividly soundtracked and illustrated.

August 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

I went nuts over this movie.

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

Filmgoers of all ages should not pass up the opportunity to experience such a work of staggering imagination.

December 28, 2008 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

This persistently fascinating if slightly over-long fairytale is propelled by the seemingly boundless imagination of writer-director Hayao Miyazaki.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

Spirited Away is wonderful.

September 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

A fractured, knotted story about adjusting to new surroundings and having courage in the face of peril.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Miyazaki has created a complete, complex world with this film, and it's certainly a magical journey. Very, very good entertainment.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Despite a dip midway through, this is a captivating fantasy that sets a new benchmark for animation.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Spirited Away

A stirring and memorable adventure of poetry, color, tones and narrative all in the vividness of animation.
February 23, 2014
Adriel Lim

Super Reviewer

A young girl is transported to a magical kingdom populated with dragons, spirits and monsters where she must break the spell of its witch-like ruler to rescue her parents and return home. Studio Ghibli's answer to The Wizard Of Oz, Spirited Away is another beautifully crafted fantasy that will enchant children and adults alike. It contains Miyazaki's usual menagerie of strange and wonderful creatures who help and hinder a lost girl in a kind of Japanese homage to Alice In Wonderland. Bizarre and endearing in a way that's peculiar to the Japanese, this film is so beautifully drawn, animated and scored it's difficult to not be drawn into this magical world despite some rather obtuse plotting that may confound younger viewers. Strange and beautiful.
February 12, 2014
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

A remarkably innovative and extremely bizarre version of Alice in Wonderland that may even be too somber for smaller children while more fascinating to adults, and it is not only perfect due to its episodic structure that also loses momentum and decelerates in the third act.
January 29, 2014
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

Having co-founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 and directed 11 films himself, the highly unique animator Hayao Miyazaki has announced his retirement. The forthcoming "The Wind Rises" will be his last venture, so it now seems like a good time to look back at arguably his best film.
Chihiro is a 10 year old girl who is moving to a new neighbourhood when her father decides to take a short cut and gets the family lost in an abandoned theme park. Helping themselves to food that's on display, Chihiro's parents are transformed into pigs and it soon becomes clear that they have stumbled into an alternate reality. Chihiro is then forced to find a way to free herself and her parents and find a way back to the human world.
Quite simply, Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" is a triumphant, fantastical, masterclass. Not only is his hand drawn animation as gorgeously refined and refreshing as ever, but his storytelling incorporates everything from the mythical to the magical, taking us on a truly breathtaking visual and intelligent journey. As his later film "Ponyo" would channel the likes of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid", here, Miyazaki has undoubtedly crafted his version of Lewis Carroll's "Alice In Wonderland" and it's in this similar realm of imagination that he is able to flourish. We are introduced to a myriad of fantastical figures from Gods, Spirits and Witches to a Sea Dragon, an enormous baby and strange little coal miners, known as "Sootballs". Despite the rich hand drawn animation, though, it's not all played for fun. It's a rights-of-passage tale about the progression of a child to adulthood while finding the time to comment on the economic downturn of Japan and the increasing loss of it's culture to the western world. It's this very complexity that makes this Miyazaki's near masterpiece. The only issue with the film is that it's overlong, resulting in periodic disengagement - especially for younger viewers. It's runs just over the two hour mark and this is with several parts of the story cut out- the original version of Miyazaki's story would have run over the three hour mark. That being said, this is still one of animation's true classics and thoroughly deserving of it's Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2002.
A breathtaking tour de force from one of the finest and most imaginative storytellers that animation has ever seen. Sadly, there will be only one more outing from Miyazaki but thankfully we've had to the pleasure to enter into his creative genius at all. Such accomplished cinematic experiences will be sadly missed.

Mark Walker
September 3, 2013
MrMarakai

Super Reviewer

    1. Yubaba/Zeniba [USA Version]: Once you've met someone you never really forget them.
    – Submitted by Muhamad R (15 months ago)
    1. Chihiro's father [USA Version]: A new home and a new school? It is a bit scary.
    2. Chihiro [USA Version]: I think I can handle it.
    – Submitted by Isabella M (23 months ago)
    1. Chihiro: I finally get a bouquet and it's a goodbye present. That's depressing.
    – Submitted by Isabella M (23 months ago)
    1. Yubaba/Zeniba: [after turning Boh into a mouse] There. Your body matches your brain.
    – Submitted by Isabella M (2 years ago)
    1. Chihiro [USA Version]: I'm dreaming,im dreaming! [pounds herself in the head]
    – Submitted by David N (2 years ago)
    1. Chihiro: [leans near elevator wall]
    2. Lin: You wanna lose your nose?!
    – Submitted by Diego T (2 years ago)
View all quotes (9)

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Latest News on Spirited Away

November 20, 2012:
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Get ready for "The Wind Rises" and "Princess Kaguya Story."
September 24, 2008:
Get Drawn to RT's Best Animated Films!
Animated films: they ain't just cartoons anymore. Nor have they been for quite some time. RT...
August 21, 2008:
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He delighted audiences with Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle -- and now director Hayao...

Foreign Titles

  • Chihiros Reise ins Zauberland (DE)
  • Spirited Away (UK)
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