I’ve now seen my 10 Studio Ghibli movies and it was such a treat! Pom Poko is still up there for being great storytelling, but I have added another new favourite: When Marnie was There. Unsurprisingly it’s another spec fic story, though subtly so and like the wonderful Howl’s Moving Castle is based on a British novel.
What Studio Ghibli has done across many of films is show uncomfortable realities and that’s what When Marnie was There does. In fact it pretty much opens with the protagonist telling us she hates herself and feels completely cut off from normal life, which in a child character is full-on.
That she finds real friendship and develops trust with a girl who – not really a spoiler – isn’t there, makes it heartbreaking when Marnie vanishes from her life. The lovely spec fic element of who/what Marnie actually is makes being put through the emotional wringer worthwhile.
I’m on a mission now to read the book to see whether I like it as much as this gorgeous animated movie.