The Secret World of Arrietty


The Secret World of Arrietty

Critics 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.



Total Count: 149


Audience Score

User Ratings: 61,011
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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 stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty's family from the home and straight into danger. -- (C) Disney


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Critic Reviews for The Secret World of Arrietty

All Critics (149) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (141) | Rotten (8)

  • 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.

    Dec 8, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Arrietty is a fresh take on Mary Norton's classic The Borrowers, with animated artwork that will have adults enchanted and children gripped.

    Dec 8, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • The fresh and simple story will win its share of young fans, though it lacks the disturbing adult elements might have attracted older audiences.

    Jan 7, 2013 | Full Review…
  • [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.

    Jan 7, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The Secret World of Arrietty is a marvelously captivating animated feature about very tiny people and the full-scale world they inhabit.

    Feb 17, 2012 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • Yonebayashi gives Arrietty an excellent sense of balance, with the adventure aspects of the story, which feel legitimately dangerous providing well-paced contrast the film's more placid moments.

    Feb 17, 2012 | Rating: 7.8/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Secret World of Arrietty

  • Mar 03, 2014
    I am not a fan of Japanese animation, but this Japanese animated fantasy directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and scripted by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa, deserved my attention for the whole 1 hour and 34 minutes . It is based on The Borrowers by Mary Norton, an English author of children's books, about a family of tiny people who live secretly in the walls and floors of a typical household, borrowing items from humans to survive. Telling the story of a young Borrower (Arrietty) befriending a human boy (Shawn), while trying to avoid being detected by the other humans, the director Yonebayashi in his directorial debut shows us that the studio Ghibli was right to choose him despite the fact that he is the youngest director of a Ghibli film... ever. I didn't mind the animation and the music, but I really loved the story. This animation also became the highest grossing Japanese film at the Japanese box office for the year 2010, and grossed over $145 million worldwide. Winning the Animation of the Year award at the 34th Japan Academy Prize award ceremony just proved the quality of the work everyone involved shared. I will say that this is a very good children movie, with wonderful imagination employed to come to some amazing details in the lives of the Borrowers. It's very gentle, outstandingly humourless, uncomplicated tale of adventure and friendship in a strange environment. Old school filmmaking, for me always nice to see when it's done well.
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2013
    Its simplicity and sadness made it flawlessly beautiful. Undeniably one of the best.
    Maymay A Super Reviewer
  • Aug 05, 2013
    A necessary Ghibli release to prove to audiences that the impeccably detailed imagination of the famous animation studio is not entirely dependent on the works of Miyazaki and Takahata, but there are very talented minds creating new worlds for worldwide audiences to see and embrace... regardless of the people's size. Even if by no means this is one of the best feature film projects by Ghibli, it easily ranks as arguably the second best animated feature of 2010 thanks to a heartwarming story, realistic in the mature portrayal of the thematic elements regardless if it is a fantasy story, a gorgeous soundtrack and a high attention to the visual detail of the landscapes, the sounds and the proportions of the dangers lurking at every corner. Japan, including anime but not restricted to it, have a remarkable talent to transform natural and domestic daily-life activities into something interesting to watch, a much needed tactic in <i>The Secret World of Arrietty.</i> After all, whether we are big or small, all of us have human weaknesses and are destined to face hardships of different facets. In the end, the message is the strength to live. A prolonged duration would have maybe emphasized the effect and made the final statement more believable. The world was so fascinating in its simplicity that I wished it had offered me a deeper insight into its heart, but 94 minutes are everything offered. 74/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 29, 2013
    In "The Secret World of Arrietty," Sho travels to his aunt's home in the country for some rest and relaxation. As peaceful as things are above board, the same cannot be said for below where a tiny family of Borrowers has set up house. In fact, this is the first time Arrietty is being allowed to accompany her father on a gathering mission which this time will be focused on getting sugar and tissue paper. All goes well until Sho sees Arrietty out of the corner of his eye which causes her to drop the precious sugar cube she had been carrying. "The Secret World of Arrietty" is a highly entertaining and charming animated film with some great touches. Just when you think all of the tricks with scale and perspective had been played out long ago, this movie invents a couple of new ones, one applied well in the important suspense department. Just to show that this is not all kid's play, it can also serve as an environmental allegory which also includes an intelligent discussion on evolution. And about the only thing keeping this movie from being truly special are a couple of overly broad characterizations. But you can't have everything, can you?
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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