A beautifully animated tale of the growing friendship and occasionally rather cloying emotional travails of two 12-year-old girls.
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The film at first plays like a refresher and throwback to Hayao Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service, before revealing itself to be less minimal than minor.
The conclusion is rushed and poorly staged, yet the damp caul of loneliness that envelops the film’s early scenes feels moving and true.
The animation is dazzling.
Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi did a wonderful job adapting “The Borrowers” into “The Secret World of Arriety.” But this slow-moving film, also from a book, tends to plod rather than float.
It deals with friendship, loneliness, abandonment and forgiveness, and though its curious narrative arc means you're never sure exactly where it's going, the film works up a considerable emotional charge by the end.
Yonebayashi’s open-hearted tale, more than any other Ghibli offering, could conceivably have worked just as well in live-action, and yet the tender story gains so much from the studio’s delicate, hand-crafted approach.
Subtle, sometimes really sad and honest about the struggles of adolescence, Marnie is a worthy last entry from Ghibli before the studio reportedly goes on hiatus.
At its most beautiful, Yonebayashi's picture is about the magic of female friendship at its purest.
It’s a quiet film of modest narrative ambitions and simple shifts. But its technical and visual ambitions couldn’t be higher. It’s as if Ghibli is still trying to raise its own bar, so that even if it’s going out, it’s reminding viewers what they’d be missing.