Compared to flashier 3D animated kids' movies, this hand-drawn tale might seem antiquated, but if you'd rather your child left the cinema with a sense of wonder than an ambition to become a monster-truck driver, this is for you. It's produced by Japan's eminent Studio Ghibli, and although it doesn't match previous hits such as Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke in terms of epic scale or adult appeal, it bears many of their hallmarks: bright, detailed animation, earnest escapism and a plucky young heroine. The scale is the opposite of epic, in fact: the film is based on Mary Norton's 1950s Borrowers novels, in which miniature people live like mice under the floorboards. Here, the simple acquisition of a sugar cube takes on the suspense of a bank heist. Arrietty herself is a mini-teen curious to fly the family nest and learn more about the world, armed with a pin for a sword. But her illicit friendship with a sickly human boy threatens her family's secret existence and teaches her a thing or two about compatibility. It's a gentle and entrancing tale, deeper and richer than more instantly gratifying fare. Think of it as the slow food of the animation world.
Arrietty – review