Mary Norton’s adorable children’s books have been adapted for the screen before – there’s the charming 1992 TV series with Ian Holm, and the less charming but nonetheless entertaining 1997 Hollywood movie with John Goodman and Jim Broadbent. This animated version is very different from both of those, made as it is by the Japanese studio Ghibli, best known for cinematic gems such as Ponyo, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke.
Even though the adventure is relocated to Tokyo, it remains faithful to the much-loved story that follows the adventures of the miniscule and resourceful Clock family, Pod (Strong) and Homily (Colman) and their daughter Arrietty (Ronan). They live under the floorboards of a house, ‘borrowing’ the things they need to survive when the humans aren’t looking, and staying hidden away. That is, of course, until an ill young boy moves into the house and spots Arrietty.
Beautifully animated, this adventure looks stunning and captures all the wonder and magic of Norton’s books. Teenage Arrietty is a terrific heroine as she goes on her first borrowing adventure with her dad, while each set piece and scene is perfectly hand-drawn to mirror the images readers of the classic books will have had in their minds. A lovely movie for all ages, and a great introduction to both the Ghibli studio and Norton’s unmissable books.
Note: The US version features different voices, including Will Arnett as Pod and Amy Poehler as Homily.
Is Arrietty suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Arrietty is often in tense situations but there is nothing here that should frighten children over the age of seven.