The Secret World of Arrietty is a Japanese animation based on the British children’s book series “The Borrowers”. It is about a family of little people who lives under the floorboards of a suburban home owned by “regular sized” people, a woman, her housekeeper and her visiting lonely and sickly grandson. Arrietty is a tiny 14-year-old live with her parents under the floorboard unbeknownst to the homeowner.
Like all other little people, Arrietty and her family hide from people except when they venture out to “borrow” supplies like cube of sugar, paper towels and cookies from their human hosts in order to feed themselves, supplies that nobody will miss. Little people like them need to remain hidden from view or they risk getting hurt or killed.
The visiting sick grandson is 12-year-old Shawn and discovered Arrietty and her parents when Arrietty and her father ventured out one night to “borrow” supplies. A secret relationship developed between the boy and Arrietty and this relationship drove Arrietty’s family out of the house.
The Secret World of Arrietty is old-school 2-dimension animation. The colors are vivid and lovely. The hand-painted watercolor backgrounds are gorgeous and the gardens are lush and inviting almost dreamy. The only negative comment is the way the main characters are drawn. Although it is an Asian film with Asian sceneries and meant to be Asian, the main characters are drawn like Caucasians and most of the time they are expressionless.
The film has a good solid story. Like any good story there’s always a villain. The films villain is Hara, the housemaid who brought in exterminators to capture the Borrowers when she suspected their presence.
The film is simple, charming, and heartwarming that both adults and kids will enjoy. It is calming and slow-paced, lush scenery and peaceful.
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi with the voices of Amy Poehler as Arrietty’s mother, Will Arnett as the father, Carol Burnett as the maid, and Bridgit Mendler as Arrietty.