My Neighbor Totoro Screen 88 of 6 reviews

My Neighbor Totoro

1988

My Neighbor Totoro Poster
  • [Miyazaki's] attention to the quotidian has the effect of making the fantastic, when it appears, all the more fantastic, though a great deal of the movie’s charm comes from the element of the quotidian that it includes _in_ the fantastic. A catbus is a marvelous piece of imagination to be sure, but every bit as marvelous is the idea of a forest spirit _who actually has to wait for the bus_.

  • My favorite of Miyazaki's remains the pared down, wandering TOTORO. So slack it lacks even the vignette nature of its closest Western analogue, THE ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH, TOTORO instead feels like a total anomaly among animated film or even kid's fare in general: a completely naturalistic film, driven by no consistent plot but the emotional state of its central girls, from whose imagination and feelings the entire film erupts around them.

  • Its unassuming demeanor belies a thematic foundation built on a faith in humanity rare in contemporary cinema, the naïveté of the youths it depicts yielding a certain perseverance in young and old alike. Chances are, if it wasn't so modest, it wouldn't project such an endearing grace, let alone have fostered such an enduring legacy.

  • Watching the film again not only cements its reputation as Miyazaki's most ebullient and emotionally incisive achievement to date, but as perhaps one of greatest animated feature films ever made.

  • Like much of Miyazaki's work, the film has an ecological bent that recalls the Shinto reverence for animal spirits and reflects quintessential Asian values like respect for one's parents and community in the face of crisis. It exemplifies Ghibli's style of fanciful realism, paying close attention to minute details as well-drawn figures move across a fluid backdrop.

  • Everything involving "him" (?), his smaller "relatives" (??), and the frickin' Catbus (!!!) totally enchants, and I tend to assume that folks who adore this picture focus exclusively on those bits and more or less forget about how much of it is the little girls running around squealing at Life Itself.

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