Spirited Away Reviews

Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
April 23, 2014
Artful but not arty, Spirited Away is a handcrafted cartoon, as personal as an Utamaro painting, yet its breadth and heart give it an appeal that should touch American viewers of all ages.
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
April 23, 2014
The result is nothing less than magical, a throwback to the very best of early Disney. If I can't remember the last time I was this enchanted by an animated film, it's because I was too young.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Michael Agger
New Yorker
November 27, 2013
It's an amazing work, filled with a visual intelligence that's meticulously composed and obscenely clever.
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Tasha Robinson
AV Club
November 27, 2013
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.
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
November 27, 2013
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.
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Ted Shen
Chicago Reader
October 25, 2011
Enchanting and impressively crafted.
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
October 18, 2008
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
August 14, 2007
Think you're too hip for Japanese anime about a lost ten-year-old girl whose parents turn into snorting pigs? Get over it.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Tony Rayns
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Initially seems like a Through the Looking-Glass fantasy, but rapidly picks up a resonance, weight and complexity that make it all but Shakespearean.
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 4, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 18, 2002
In scene after scene, Spirited Away unleashes so much wonder and visual imagination that you end up watching the movie in a state of rapturous, awestruck bliss.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
October 10, 2002
Visually imaginative, thematically instructive and thoroughly delightful, it takes us on a roller-coaster ride from innocence to experience without even a hint of that typical kiddie-flick sentimentality.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
October 6, 2002
[Spirited Away is] the most deeply and mysteriously satisfying animated feature to come along in ages.
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
October 4, 2002
Packed with strange beings amid painterly settings, Spirited Away delivers one of the most colorful fantasy worlds since the similarly surreal Yellow Submarine.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
October 4, 2002
Children may not understand everything that happens -- I'm not sure even Miyazaki himself does -- but they will almost certainly be fascinated, and undoubtedly delighted.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
October 4, 2002
Miyazaki floods the screen with beautiful scenes and enough fascinating creatures to put Pokemon to shame.
| Original Score: A-
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
October 4, 2002
...brilliant in its imagery and astonishing in its creativity. Many films are billed as voyages into fantasy, but this one actually delivers.
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Tom Maurstad
Dallas Morning News
October 3, 2002
That rare movie that has the emotional and psychological depth to match its stunning surface.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
September 26, 2002
Spirited Away is a trip, in the literal, metaphorical and indeed lysergic senses of that word.
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David Hunter
Hollywood Reporter
September 23, 2002
Miyazaki is one of world cinema's most wondrously gifted artists and storytellers.
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Mike D'Angelo
Time Out
September 22, 2002
Has few rivals as a work of visual imagination.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
September 22, 2002
Miyazaki has provided another triumph, and, in the midst of the quality fall-off of Disney's in-house animated projects, a reason for animation-lovers to rejoice.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
September 20, 2002
A cultural wildcard experience: wacky, different, unusual, even nutty.
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Jane Horwitz
Washington Post
September 20, 2002
Like old myths and wonder tales spun afresh.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
September 20, 2002
Even though Disney released this film, Spirited Away points up just how by-the-numbers the studio's fare can be.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
September 20, 2002
Spirited Away is every bit as captivating for its sheer graphic power as it is for its message of go-get-'em-girl power.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
September 20, 2002
Miyazaki, the master animator and director of the enchanting Kiki's Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke, leads us through the looking glass as never before in Spirited Away.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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C.W. Nevius
San Francisco Chronicle
September 20, 2002
A lovely, evocative tour de force.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 20, 2002
This is one of the year's best films.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
September 20, 2002
Spirited Away delivers chunks of Yellow Submarine and The Phantom Tollbooth -- a vividly timeless oddity suitable for many children and most stoners.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
September 20, 2002
Hayao Miyazaki's breathtakingly beautiful and poetic Spirited Away -- a Japanese cross between Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz -- is such a landmark in animation that labeling it a masterpiece almost seems inadequate.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Don Irvine
Globe and Mail
September 20, 2002
Spirited Away has the quality of a dream: It takes you places so foreign and fantastic you have no option but to yield completely to it and be spirited along.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Derek Elley
Variety
September 19, 2002
The magic (and original running time) of ace Japanimator Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away survives intact in BV's re-voiced version.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 19, 2002
The film is not recommended for toddlers and easily frightened little tykes. But for everyone else, kid or grown-up, this thrilling foray into magical realms is a must.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
Newsday
September 19, 2002
A haunting and indelible fable that warms the chilly soul of Japanese anime and points the way for its American sponsor.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
September 19, 2002
A marriage between the power of Mononoke and the lively pop-pop-pop of his film My Friend Totoro.
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
September 19, 2002
If you're dispirited by look-alike, sound-alike, think-alike movies, disturbed by an art form that seems not only to tolerate, but also to reward a paucity of imagination, you're not going to believe your luck.
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David Chute
L.A. Weekly
September 19, 2002
This English-language version ... does full honor to Miyazaki's teeming and often unsettling landscape, and to the conflicted complexity of his characters.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
September 19, 2002
A movie full of bewitching images and timeless fun and beauty.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
September 19, 2002
A triumph of psychological depth and artistic brilliance.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
September 16, 2002
An amazing piece of work.