A sick girl called Anna forms a friendship with a local named Marnie while recuperating in a seaside town. When Marnie Was There was the final film for Studio Ghibli before they announced a hiatus and the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki.
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The best is a kind of ghostly Gothic-Romanesque which even recalls some of classic Hollywood films - The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Rebecca, Portrait of Jennie, etc. etc. -, properly crossed with Freudian notes. The worst is a technically perfect animation but artistically disinvested of a bolder formal search, being more like a peaceful watercolor. It is a beautiful film that only occasionally reaches the unconscious.
I suspect--no, I'm certain--that my own sentimental attachment to Ghibli, forged by years of reliably indelible experiences as exhilarating and affecting as they've been impeccably crafted, is in large part responsible for my inability to hold this film's slightness and sentimentality against it. That we're all ghost-born and ghost-bearing seems always to have been near the center of this studio's cinema.
A beautifully heartfelt poem emotionally conveying feelings both of loss and recovery. The film is tender; 'sweet' would be an apt term to describe it. How it deals with pain and therapy without being overt about mental distress or the magic of the unconscious mind is truly elegant.
87/100 - Excellent
Ghibli in cruise control - an archetypal blend of domestic normality, rites-of-passage pre-adolescence and the foreshadowing of magical realms. Whilst films like 'Porco Rosso' and 'Princess Mononoke' appeal to an older demographic, 'While Marnie Was There' consolidates the studio back to its family-friendly filmmaking roots.
This is my first Yonebayashi film and I have to admit that it was amazing! Although I have seen it dubbed in cinema, I do not regret a thing, I loved it. I cried, I was frightened and I lived together with Ana, even though I am a 22 year old white european man. What an astounding work from Studio Ghibli!
"Every love story is a ghost story" said David Foster Wallace, and that's never been truer than here (well and maybe the film 'Ghost'). An oddly dark and melancholic look at alienation, depression, most definitely sexuality...Marnie doesn't always succeed at coalescing its mystical and emotional plots, but the sincerity is winning anyhow. Partially betrays its queer subplot, an affecting depiction of friendship.