When Marnie Was There
There’s a glistening, magical aura around the name Studio Ghibli. It is a film studio that has consecutively produced first-rate animations that have made us smile, laugh and even cry, and director Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s second feature, When Marnie Was There, certainly does not disappoint.
Adapted from Joan G Robinson’s glorious modern classic, When Marnie Was There tells the story of Anna, a desperately lonely girl from Sapporo city, who travels to visit her relatives in the countryside. It is here she meets Marnie, a vibrant and curious child who is delighted to form a friendship with Anna: “You are my perfect secret,” she says. As their bubbly, whirlwind relationship strengthens, so does Anna’s confidence and she begins to reconnect with the world she once pushed aside.
Though the film’s plot focuses solely on the friendship between two children, it is not only a children’s film. Ultimately, it is a loving, coming-of-age tale that also shows the darker side of growing up, combating self-loathing as well as the yearning desire to just fit in. Still, these starkly realistic concepts are masked with playful humour and a delightfully charming narrative that ensures the film’s appeal for a wider audience.
The traditional and intricate animation paves the perfect path for the narrative, juxtaposing the realistic nature of the script with equally representational and lifelike action. Many animated features, specifically those aimed at the younger generation, will hone in on the dreamy, colourful world that animation can offer, which can often leave a more mature audience feeling somewhat disconnected. However, the meticulously detailed animated sequences here actually bear more resemblance to a live action film rather than the outlandishly fantastical and upbeat world of a generic animation.
When Marnie Was There is a frank reminder that animated features can appeal to all ages, and it is high time they are respected as such. Poignant, thoughtful and beautifully scripted, don’t let this film pass you by.
When Marnie Was There is released nationwide on 10th June 2016.
Watch the trailer for When Marnie Was There here: