Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When Marnie Was There (2014) Japan

Some people're destined to meet the secret friend.

Anime, Drama, Mystery.

Original title:
Omoide no Mani (Japanese)

What's in:
Largely on-topic, Slight off-topic, Mild spoilers, Dialogues, Production discussion.

Approximately 8-minute read.

     From the director Hiromasa Yonebayashi of 'The Secret World of Arriety' fame. Based on the 1967 English novel of the same name and so the important characters borrowed the western names. This is what I call a fine adaptation, great transformation from the words to the motion picture. Actually, it suited for the narration from the standpoint of Japanese culture and lifestyle, especially for this anime version with the beautiful fictional coastal landscapes. Whenever I remember this film in the future, that Marsh house would be the first thing to pop out in my mind, an unforgettable landmark for sure.

     The movie promos were damp. The posters were not that impressive, but okay and the trailer was very ordinary. Studio Ghibli was the reason to go for it, so I expected nothing spectacular from the movie. Even while I was watching, I thought it was just an enjoyable mystery flick, but you know sometime the value of the whole movie comes at the end twist. Once the end was near my stance changed, especially after the hidden truth revelation. Some movies need a re-watch to terminate any doubts regarding characters and scenes. As for this movie, if your focus is straight, then it's does not require.

     Not a technical brilliance like the director's previous movie, but the story was strong and twisty. The characters were very interesting, suspense was the movie's influence for the audience to stick till the end. There is no loose end, certainly gives a few topics to discuss about, but the narration moves on a circular track and hits back like the boomerang. That does not mean it is a time travel or something. The narration bends and blends with the time. To realise what is real and what is not, you have to wait till the end. After seeing the film, I understood everyone's childhood memories could monopolize if we encounter same object, place, person and other things again in the later life. Yes, I had few minor experience in my life as well.

     The opening dialogue itself a hint of what kind of movie it is going to be. There are two prominent girls, Anna and Marnie in the story, like the Anna and Elsa from 'Frozen'. The narration flips on a regular basis to tell the multiple layered story. As this film was a puzzle in portrayal, obviously viewers try to solve it, including me. I tried my best. I thought Anna's childhood toy was something to do with all the fuss, but I was terribly wrong. That was a perfect divert if you observe it closely. In another perspective, I kept 'The Others' and 'The Orphanage' in mind, but was not even close to where this story was heading. Whether you succeed or not, very fun to solve a mystery, you know. Finally, it gave me full satisfaction like that indirectly I saw 'The Uninvited' once again.

     Feels like the Oscars was concluded yesterday, but I am already thinking about the next one. If I am not wrong this movie is definitely one of the contenders for the best animation race, along with 'The Good Dinosaur' probably. Absolutely, I would be disappointed if I don't see it in the final five. There is lots of time between now and then, so anything might happen, who knows. After all, this film has already won my little heart and millions of other's. I know no one can replace Mr. Miyazaki, but feels like Hiromasa Yonebayashi could come near if his future projects as much effective as his one. Best of luck to him and he's only a 41. But remember Isao Takahat is 80 and still in the race, yet to announce his retirement. And this film was very close to his 'Only Yesterday'.

 I love you more than any girl I've ever known. 

     Studio Ghibli is like Disney Studio from the east. As we know, narrating a fairy tale having the tween girls in the lead is what they're famous for. The previous couple of movies were out of their trademark, so, happy they are back with this masterwork. At a same time I am very very very very sad, because it's their final movie after the 30 years of triumph. Since Hayao Miyazaki's retirement everything falling apart from the studio's management. They've given reasons and it is only a temporary, though hope the rise of 3D animation is not the one to halt the production, praying for the pause to be lifted soon.

     This film is not just passing through from this giant anime production house, but it is a masterpiece. As usual, it is a girly movie and that does not stop grownups, especially men from a watch. I loved it, everytime when I like a movie I express my desire for a sequel and so I did for this film. Though it was one time story with nothing left over for further development, possibly some new thing can be attached to it. Whatever happens this movie will remain as one of the best from the studio and can compete with any modern animations and live-shot masterworks. Highly recommended, not just for anime or animation fans, but for mystery and who love the layers in story narration.

Similar movies:
Only Yesterday, Spirited Away, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, The Secret World of Arriety.

Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All

Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent

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