DVD Review – When Marnie Was There (2014)

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A film that touched me on a deep level. I really connected with the main character and I found a lot of myself in her (apart from the gender). An introvert, someone who doesn’t know their place in the world. Someone who doesn’t make friends very easily and finds it hard what to say and when to say it.

I hope this isn’t their last. I really do. But if it is, as sad as that is, I’ll remain grateful for this last flare of colour, motion, sound, and the aching heart that beats beneath it. More than that, it’s an elegant, well-crafted love story/ghost story — a film of narrative circles that intersect, interlock and softly dissolve boundaries between worlds. Between Marnie and Anna, there are two girlhoods that briefly align through a spectral memory loop. It is a love story, and it takes pains to show us the ways that all of our love stories begin with our childhoods. Anna is “othered” in so many ways, but she finds that what makes her real is not what’s on the outside, but the ways she loves and is loved. A small, personal film it really holds on to your emotions and never let’s go.

I’m only reviewing the DVD but if the quality is this good, I cannot WAIT to watch this on Bluray. Special features include the evergreen Ghibli features, the trailers, both Japanese and UK reels and complete storyboards but also much more. A near 45-minute making of which takes a whirlwind look behind the scenes and explores a wide range of elements within the creative processes, the picture’s place in Studio Ghibli history, story details, and more. A condensed retelling of the movie in parallel with a look at real-life drawings and models that stand in for the animation and pretty basic look behind the English voice cast. A very good assortment.

One of my favourite films of the year and the finest Ghibli film since Howl’s Moving Castle.

Peter Fletcher

Anime, Mystery | Japan 2014 | U | StudioCanal | 3rd October 2016 (UK) | Dir.Hiromasa Yonebayashi | Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura, Nanako Matsushima, Hailee Steinfeld, |Buy: [DVD]

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