This exquisite cartoon tells a tender, haunting tale about loneliness and friendship through the eyes of shy, unhappy orphan Anna (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld).
An adaptation of English writer Joan G Robinson’s 1967 novel, transposed from 1960s Norfolk to modern-day Japan, the story finds Anna getting sent out of the big city by her adoptive family to stay for the summer with relatives in a quiet seaside town.
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 (Kieran Shipka) 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 Studio Ghibli’s delicate, hand-drawn animation.