The Secret World of Arrietty (2012)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Visually lush, refreshingly free of family-friendly clatter, and anchored with soulful depth, The Secret World of Arrietty lives up to Studio Ghibli's reputation.


Movie Info

Arrietty (Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty (AIR-ee-ett-ee) remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to "borrow" scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (David Henrie), a human boy who comes to … More

Rating: G
Genre: Animation, Art House & International, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: , ,
Written By: Mary Norton, Hayao Miyazaki, Karey Kirkpatrick, Keiko Niwa
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 22, 2012
Box Office: $19.2M
Runtime:
Walt Disney Pictures - Official Site

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Cast


as Arrietty

as Spiller
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Critic Reviews for The Secret World of Arrietty

All Critics (139) | Top Critics (32)

The fresh and simple story will win its share of young fans, though it lacks the disturbing adult elements might have attracted older audiences.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

[The film] pulses with feeling for childhood and nature and develops a surprising amount of suspense considering it takes place around a single suburban home.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Arrietty combines the bold, mature qualities of prior Ghibli fantasy outings like Spirited Away and Nausicaa with the droll humor of My Neighbor Totoro, resulting in a movie that is simultaneously thrilling and whimsically adorable.

Full Review… | December 8, 2014
CraveOnline

While Arrietty lacks the originality and imagination of many in the Studio Ghibli catalogue, it has the heart, warmth and beauty of its predecessors and is certain to leave you feeling moved.

Full Review… | December 8, 2014
What Culture

It's very pretty (plus a song that is like a gumdrop melting in your ear). Girls may enjoy the sweet, rather wistful story more than most boys.

Full Review… | December 8, 2014
San Diego Reader

The Secret World of Arrietty is a magical and heartwarming story for older kids and adults. It's a secret world you will fall in love with.

Full Review… | December 8, 2014
Salt Lake Tribune

Audience Reviews for The Secret World of Arrietty

Adorable.

MeetMeinMontauk
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

½

Japanese version of the Borrowers.

thmtsang
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

The stories of the little people was originally conceived in the book series "The Borrowers" about a group of tiny people who would "Borrow" small things from people that they need. 50 years after the novel was written, Director Hayao Miyazaki decided to do his take on this story.

The story is about a young boy with medical problems named Shawn (David Henrie) being sent to his moms childhood house where she was told stories of small people who lived under the floor. He sees a strange creature when he is outside when he first arrives and thinks it looks like a little person. This creature ends up actually being a little person, a 14 year old girl named Arriety (Bridgit Mendler) who lives with her two parents (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) who are borrowers who are small people who "Borrow things such as soap, cookies, and other small things that humans don't need when they disappear. Shawn ends up seeing Arriety on her first night of "Borrowing" and his curiosity was picked very far when she drops sugar in his room and he drops it off in the hole near her house. Arriety questioning this is told not to take the sugar because her father thinks its a trap but she sneaks out and ends up becoming friends with Shawn.

Like many of Ghiblis movies as I said before, usually get heavily Disney associated actors such as David Henrie from Wizards of Waverly Place and Moises Arias who was on Hannah Montana. But this movie also like Ghiblis other movies get moderately big actors or much older actors, such as in this film they got Carol Burnett, and Amy Poelher and Will Arnett. All of them do regular great jobs and one actor I think does the best job overall is surprisingly David Henrie as Shawn. He has such an innocent and monotone voice that it is impossible not to feel sorry for him when you find out about what is wrong with him and you feel horrible for all the things that are happening to him. He's both a sympathetic character and a very emotional character, and Henrie pulls this off flawlessly well. Bridget Mendler does a good job as Arriety, being sweet and pulls off the teenage girl getting to figure out the big world very well. Arnett and Poelher both do good as Arriety's parents and it shows due to these two being married in real life and you believe they do care for Arriety and are both believable as these two characters. Carol Burnett is shockingly not that memorable in this movie, she plays the character of Hara, a woman who takes care of Shawn but is obsessed with catching the little people. Maybe its because the character is really not developed that well, but Burnett doesn't really have much to work with with this character in the film, unlike the other elderly actresses that Miyazaki has chosen before such as Suzanne Pleshette in Spirited Away or Lauren Bacall in Howl's Moving Castle.

The animation, again like all of Miyazaki's other animated pictures is incredible, and for a movie with perspectives of smaller people to much larger people and animals leads to some very good eye candy to see in a Miyazaki movie. But other than that there isn't much really to talk about in terms of the animation.

One thing I will say about this movie is that is quite possibly one of the emotional films that I've seen in a while, and one of those reasons is because of the music, the music in this movie are brilliantly done and the film has little to none of it, but they know when to use it to the films advantage, and it works incredibly well when it is used. Using piano music about 80% of the time also helps.

Overall this is so far the best film that I've seen this year and it is definitely a wonderful film to go see, and it is one of the few movies to make me cry at the end, and it is quite possibly Studio Ghiblis most well told story out of all their films. My only problem I have with this movie is that the film does have a somewhat slow pace for a animated movie especially for a 90 minute animated film, but everything is all done extremely well and it is definitely one of Ghiblis best.

Review originally written 2/26/12

michael e.
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer

The Secret World of Arrietty Quotes

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