When Marnie Was There (2014)

After a successful directorial debut with 借りぐらしのアリエッティ (Karigurashi no Arrietty) or literally The Borrower Arrietty back in 2010, Ghibli director 米林 宏昌 (Yonebayashi Hiromasa) is back this year, with another book-to-screen adaptation. Titled 思い出のマーニー (Omoide no Mānī) or literally, Marnie of Memories, the latest film from the revered studio is based on a novel titled When Marnie Was There written by Joan G. Robinson and first published back in 1967. It tells the story of Anna, an adopted lonely girl who, although willing, didn’t have any friends. She was taken to a faraway place to get to know one of her adoptive parents’ relatives. That was where she met Marnie. What follows is a heartwarming yet strange friendship that will – if done right – move most of us by the film’s end.

I am beside myself with excitement after knowing about this particular production. I was completely floored with how effective a director Mr. Yonebayashi was when he helmed Arrietty. I especially liked how quaint and serene it looked and felt. Everything – the visuals, the sounds, the plot developments – was utilized to make the film charming, but it never went overboard. Add the elfin appeal of the eponymous protagonist and how Yonebayashi-san made us feel like we were right there beside her all that time, and one will realize how that was some masterful directing right there.

And with almost similar if not identical themes and imagery filling up Mrs. Robinson’s Marnie, I think we are in for another enchanting feature: worthy of Studio Ghibli’s storied past and proudly raising its blue Totoro banner into the future, and quite deservingly so.

Here’s the trailer to whet your appetite while all of us non-Japanese Studio Ghibli fans wait for next year or so before we finally get to watch this one (I know, it hurts me too):

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