Writer: Keika Niwa, Masahi Ando, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, David Freedman (Screenplay) Joan G Robinson (Novel)
Starring: (Voice Talents) Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura, Nanaki Matsushima, Susumu Terajima, Toshie Negishi
Plot: Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside, an emotionally distant adolescent girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there – a girl who may or may not be real.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Emotional Roller-Coaster
Story: When Marnie Was There starts as we meet 12-year-old girl Anna Sasaki who has been struggling to fit in at school becoming distant from her whole family too. Looking for a cure Yoriko her Aunt sends Anna to the family Kiyomasa and Setsu on the coast with fresh air away from the busy city.
With the beautiful landscape becoming the inspiration for Anna’s latest artwork she becomes fascinated by a mysterious abandoned mansion on the marsh. Investigating Anna meets the girl who lives in the mansion Marnie.
The two become best friends but it soon leaves Anna wondering just whether Marnie is real or not because without this friendship Anna feels almost empty in this world.
Thoughts on When Marnie Was There
Story – This story is one of the very best from Ghibli, it does lose all of the wild fantasy elements and at its core is one of the sweetest heartbreaking dramas you will see in recent years. The story focuses on the problems a foster child is suffering with through after her parents and grandparents all die, our character can’t find her way in the world but one summer changes all of that for her. How everything unfolds will bring a tear to your eye once you see the final outcome of this story.
Family/Mystery – When you look at the family side of the story we get to see just how difficult being a foster child can be and you add in the mystery of just who is Marnie to this young girl real, imagine or a memory.
Characters– Anna is a perfect character for lead in a film, she is a struggling young girl who hasn’t understood her place in the world struggling with anxiety and depression with no one around she believes she can turn to for help. Marnie gives Anna the out she needed so much from her life bringing the positive she never knew she has in her. I will say the rest of the characters are mostly typical characters you would see around town who all help Anna with her problems.
Settings – The animation gives us the most beautiful settings away from the busy lifestyle in the small country village.
Animation – When it comes to the animation Ghibli always give us such a perfect style of animation and this is no exception from the brilliant study.
Final Thoughts – This has to go down as one of Ghibli’s best pieces of work a pure down to Earth story that will make you smile while the tears roll down your face and pure emotional roller-coaster.
Overall: Brilliant, Stunning Unforgettable, Tragic, Charming and Important all just a few words to describe this film.