Monday, February 20, 2012

Smash Cuts: The Secret World Of Arrietty

The Secret World Of Arrietty (Yonebayashi, 2012)

Cultures clash, worlds collide, while the trivial takes on the weight of the universe. Assuming it has a weight and we all aren't just floating along. But perhaps we do float along, movies carry us away into these worlds where the magic becomes real. Where we can forget the grim reality lurking in the backdrop. Our rats are only possible threats, we worry for naught when there are adventures to be shared. Or perhaps just borrowed. It's hard to gaze upon the foreign without interacting, for the imagination to build up a reality that just cannot be true, but these moments of hesitation are truly the ones that reveal who we really are, the fleeting glimpses stretched out until the reality is washed away by the dream.

The characters are painted with as broad of a brush as the gorgeous animation, but when the plot wheels start to pick up it's almost as if the cart has become a Camry without first happening upon the Model T. Feel free to have one in any color, so long as it's black. And black is fine, it gets us from point A to point B, we're taking this trip for the destination as much as the scenery. Still, perhaps we should have remembered to stop for lunch. Those stops always make what's left unsaid when we arrive much more meaningful. But I was effected, and we're here now, so what do I know? Too much, some would say. It's comforting to have my hand held, to lead me along the road through a world of firsts, where sex, friendship, loss, and fear are first encountered, but at some point we all have to let go. We all need to wonder about what happens next.

Rating: ****/*****


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© 2011 Richard James Thorne


  1. Your review baffled me some when I read it first yesterday, before I'd seen Arrietty myself. Now, I understand it much better, and I think you capture both the never-explicit thematic traces and the lyrical quality of the film so well. It's appropriate that your review is more poetry than prose. Lovely.

  2. Thanks! I enjoy the shorter reviews a bit (it helps me focus and doesn't give me the pressure of full on reviews when school has me strapped for time), so I hope to further develop my voice and writing style until my time opens up a bit more.

    Glad it didn't seem to just be a huge rambling. I have a ways to go to reach the levels of greatness of the styles I imitate, but eventually I hope to come close.