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.
Having watched this movie is like the kind of feeling that your sorrow and loneliness nailed you down and you fell into the deep darkness alone, then you stood up, and finds sparks and sparks of lights appeared, leading you to the end of the nightmare, and when came out, you found the sunshine was warmer than ever.