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Animation Features Movies

When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Mani)

Director – Hiromasa Yonebayashi – 2014 – Japan – Cert. U – 103m

****

The following review originally appeared in Funimation UK.

Jeremy Clarke on Studio Ghibli’s latest and possibly last theatrical movie.

Studio Ghibli’s star director Hayao Miyazaki has suggested When Marnie Was There may be its final production. That would be a great shame since the film confirms its director Hiromasa Yonebayashi as a rising talent.

Twelve year old Anna has low self-esteem, rarely interacts with others and is prone to asthma attacks. So Anna’s foster mother sends her to stay with Aunt and Uncle Oiwa in the country. Her uncle warns her to stay away from the supposedly haunted grain storage silo on the hill. The Oiwas put her up in their daughter’s long vacated bedroom.

When she opens the window an improvement is immediately visible in Anna as if the view of trees and a lake which greets her is making her aware she is breathing pure, fresh country air for the first time. Exploring the locality later, she comes upon an area of marshland with a mansion beyond. At an upstairs window a woman brushes the hair of a young blonde girl. When high tide turns the marshland into an impassable lake, Anna is rescued from the landing by a boatman whose silence she appreciates.… Read the rest