A tender, haunting tale about loneliness and friendship, exquisite anime When Marnie Was There is reportedly legendary Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli‘s last feature film. If so, they are certainly going out on a high.
An adaptation of English writer Joan G Robinson‘s 1967 novel, transposed from 60s Norfolk to modern-day Japan, the story finds shy, unhappy young orphan Anna getting sent out of the big city by her adoptive family to stay for the summer with relatives in a quiet seaside town.
“Beautiful and bittersweet”
Her solitary rambles take her to a mansion on the salt marshes that is supposedly empty and abandoned. There, however, she encounters a mysterious blue-eyed blonde girl named Marnie and begins an intense friendship with her.
The film hints at mystery. Is Marnie real? A ghost? Anna’s imaginary friend? But enigma takes second place to a sensitive exploration of adolescent turmoil and self-discovery, made even more beautiful and bittersweet by the film’s delicate hand-drawn animation.
Certificate U. Runtime 99 mins. Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi
When Marnie Was There is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download from Monday 3rd October, courtesy of StudioCanal.
- Behind the scenes with the English voice cast
- The Making of ‘When Marnie Was There’
- Yohei Taneda creates the Art of ‘When Marnie Was There’
- Original Japanese trailers and TV spots
- UK trailers