Mary and the Witch’s Flower
From the wonderful imagination of Hiromasa Yonebayashi (When Marnie Was There) comes Mary and the Witch’s Flower, a spellbinding animated adventure adapted from Mary Stewart’s novel The Little Broomstick. The story sees the eponymous youngster (Hana Sugisaki/Ruby Barnhill) enter a magical world after discovering a mysterious flower in the woods that temporarily grants her magic powers.
This director has worked previously with Studio Ghibli, and it goes without saying that Yonebayashi’s latest feature continues his incredibly high standard of animation: each frame is a visual treat exploding with colour and life. Each gorgeously hand-painted background demonstrates an incredible, almost photo-realistic, level of detail. From individual blades of grass swaying in the summer breeze to rolling mists, there’s always something to catch the eye. Likewise, this painstaking detail is also present in the expressions of the characters, both human and nonhuman – especially in relation to Mary’s indifferently adorable feline companion – which makes this creative world feel so much more real and inviting.
The movie’s incredible beauty extends to its sound design and musical score. Both magical and non-magical worlds are given so much devotion they, like in all great films of this genre, become their own unique characters themselves. Couple this with a haunting soundtrack and Mary and the Witch’s Flower is easily one of the most stunning animations in recent memory.
Yonebayashi’s latest work isn’t just all style with no substance either. Underneath the film’s breathtaking façade lies a charming adventure full of heart and humour that will keep viewers entertained and engaged throughout. Although the first act does get a little choppy as it goes back and forth in order to establish the central conflict, the movie soon hits its stride, and contains more than a few unexpected surprises to make up for its few early missteps. One smaller note to make would be that the dialogue can come across as awkward at times, but this is nothing new for dubbed anime and is easily forgotten about (this may also be overcome by watching the original Japanese version).
From its exhilarating opening to its uplifting ending, Mary and the Witch’s Flower is a magnificent animated adventure set in an equally creative world that is sure to cast its spell on you.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower is released nationwide on 4th May 2018.
Read more reviews from our Glasgow Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Glasgow Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Mary and the Witch’s Flower here: