The Secret World of Arrietty

 

Studio Ghibli / Disney

 

Rating: G

 

Reason for the Rating: N/A

 

Plot Summary: When Arrietty, a small girl who lives under the floorboards with her family, is discovered by a boy, everything in her world changes

 

PopFam Recommends: This is a rental for younger children.

 

When I was a young girl, I loved the book The Borrowers, upon which this movie is based. The idea of four inch tall people living secretly in my house, "borrowing" things like thimbles, pins, and sugar cubes for their own homes was a story that filled my imagination. Too bad the movie didn't fill my imagination with anything other than, "Is this movie over yet?"

 

Arrietty (voiced by Saoirse Ronan) is a young girl who lives with her father of few words, Pod (Will Arnett) and worrisome mother, Homily (Amy Poehler) under a house in Japan. Nightly, Pod makes adventurous trips into the human beings home to find and borrow things such as tissues, stamps, and other small items needed to make a home and survive. But survival isn't only dictated by what they find, but by not being found themselves. Which is why it is unfortunate that on the day of Arrietty's first trip into the human beings house, she is seen by Sean (David Henrie), a boy who has come to visit his aunt.

 

Arrietty tries to make this situation right, by going to Sean and asking him to leave her family alone. Sean is enamored by her though, and despite her request he persists in attempting to help by leaving items for her to find, and even pulling up the floorboards to leave new kitchen appliances for Homily. All of which makes Hara (Carol Burnett), the housekeeper, curious. While re-tracing Sean's steps, Hara discovers Homily, captures her in a jar, and calls the exterminator. The very reason Borrowers must not be seen.

 

There are several reasons I didn't care for this movie, but simply put, it was just boring. Slow-paced, no real action, and limited conversation don't make for in interesting movie, unless it's one about nature. The animation was beautiful with vivid color and detail, but the story itself was dull. This is a movie that would have been better served by using CG and real people (like The Indian in the Cupboard), some additional conversation, and a bit more action.

 

While I wouldn't rule out seeing it completely, I would recommend this as a rental where it can be paused for potty breaks and popcorn runs. And when you're done with the movie, go find the book and read it to your kids. All of you will be glad you did.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• How would you feel about little people living in your house?

 

• If little people lived in your house, how might they use a thimble? a button? a piece of velcro? a thumbtack?

 

• Why do you think Hara wanted to get rid of Arrietty and her family?

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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