WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE works so well on multiple emotional levels, and can be read in a number of ways. One of those ways is a little creepy, but I think I we’ll skip that. Anna (Sara Takatsuki) is a low-key but compelling protagonist, a champion for all of us who feel more comfortable in their own company, who overcomes her doubts and hangups searching for fulfillment, ironically as she discovers her connection to the tragedy of others. The fantasy elements are underplayed, but the unconventional portrayal of time, memory and the near-supernatural power of love marks this story out. Ghibli animations never feel like they’re in a rush, but this goes doubly so for Marnie. It’s tentative, thoughtful and searching for the perfect beautiful image to capture, much like the film’s anxious and creative protagonist. Studio Ghibli certainly didn’t tail off in quality as it approached its indefinite hiatus, this and THE WIND RISES being amongst their most complex and beautiful work. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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