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When Marnie Was There is still blessed with enough visual and narrative beauty to recommend, even if it isn't quite as magical as Studio Ghibli's greatest works.
All Critics (93)
| Top Critics (25)
| Fresh (84)
| Rotten (9)
The gentle, unforced charm of the animation feels like the very best of book illustration come to miraculous life, but with a strong, almost Hitchcockian streak of excitement and danger.
It's a kid's movie that grown-ups will like. As Marnie does on Anna, the movie casts a spell.
Dramatically unworthy of its gorgeous coastal landscapes and ever-shifting light.
Yonebayashi has touched on the greater mystery underlying everyday life, a world pulsing with wonder and possibility, edged with a shadow of melancholy.
While not a masterpiece, it is beautiful, nonetheless.
To those film lovers attuned to quiet moments and emotional nuance, this film has a shine all its own. The old-school hand-drawn animation celebrates sweeping landscapes and but also the telling detail, revealing character through spare gestures.
The allegory of the fantastic of Studio Ghibli's older productions, and particularly those of Miyazaki's, seems to be largely lost, and unfortunately, the film's technical prowess is not enough to surpass this issue.
What other animated film would take the time to focus on a shot of fresh watermelon being cut, or of laundry waving in the breeze?
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and adapted from Joan G Robinson's book, the film remains hauntingly beautiful to look at, but we're on pretty familiar ground by now.
Marnie may be a quiet end to the pantheon of animated masterpieces that have streamed out of Hayao Miyazaki's studio, but the film is satisfying in its own way.
Hiromasa Yonebayashi's film maintains the Ghibli traditions of elegant pastoral animation and nuanced emotional themes.
Enigma takes second place to a sensitive exploration of adolescent turmoil and self-discovery, made even more beautiful and bittersweet by the film's delicate hand-drawn animation.
The animation is gorgeous like everything Studio Ghibli makes (though this is perhaps its final production, following Miyazaki's retirement), but the film is not without its flaws, such as trouble with pacing and a twisty plot whose revelations are more predictable than insightful.
There will never be enough words in the dictionary to describe how incredibly thought-provoking the films that come from Studio Ghibli are. "When Marnie Was There" is no exception to that statement. Following an introverted girl, outcast by her peers at school and being diagnosed with asthma, Anna is sent away to a relatives house in the country. Filled with trees, water, and an environment that she will feel at home in, we begin to see more of the inner-Anna as the film progresses. At the films core, it is about a young orphan girl, who is looking to find herself. She comes across a young girl named Marnie and their friendship blossoms quickly and fiercely, leading to plot twists that will have you in tears.
This film is truly magnificent for everything it sets itself up for, and the payoff is emotionally satisfying in every way. This studio always knows how to write a compelling story and execute it in such a beautiful way. As always, the animation is crafted to perfection and each element has meaning. Of all the films I have had the pleasure of seeing in 2015, this is definitely one of my favourites. I truly do not have any complaints about this picture. Any questions or concerns you may have throughout the duration of this film, will be answered by the time the credits role, and if you end up enjoying this film as much as myself, you will not want that to happen. I wanted this film to keep going and going. "When Marnie Was There" is one of my favourite films from Studio Ghibli and one of the best films of 2015.
When Marnie Was There (2014, Japan) is yet another picturesque Studio Ghibli production with a beautiful sketch of Japanese countryside. Very much different from its predecessors in terms of narrative and propagating themes on self-discovery and self-formation with a hint of thriller and mystery, When Marnie Was There is truly a Studio Ghibli classic guaranteed to warm your heart and pinch you in all the right places.
When Marnie Was There never fulfills on its grand promise of something profound. Anna and Marnie strike up a friendship and their interactions allow the previously withdrawn Anna to open up. The two frequently abscond away together in clandestine meetings that suggest a rapport that is far more intimate. It reaches an apex when a jealous Anna questions Marnie about dancing with a boy. You're certain that something more will come of this. But nothing does. Later there is a scary interlude that resembles a Gothic tale involving an old abandoned silo that terrifies Marnie. More suggestions of something grander than what is actually presented. The denouement ultimately ignores all of these plot threads and settles into a resolution that doesn't effectively address the issues with which this poor kid is struggling. She was really messed up and the reveal is totally disconnected from what this girl had been feeling. Sill, the picture is too visually hypnotic to ignore. The soundtrack, both the music and the sounds of the environment, create a lavish atmosphere that is spellbinding. I liked When Marnie Was There. I just didn't love it.
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