The Secret World of Arrietty

Grade A
Starring Bridgit Mendler, David Henrie, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Carol Burnett
MPAA Rating Rated G
Genre Animation
Theatrical Release February 17, 2012

C.S.Lewis once said, “[Friendship] has no survival value, rather, it is one ofthose things that give value to survival.” “The Secret World of Arrietty” truly demonstrates his point, and viewers will be drawn into a world bigger than life—literally.

Based loosely on the concept of a book series by Mary Norton, theBorrowers are tiny people that “borrow” things from the humans. 14-year-old Arrietty and her parents live anonymously in a quaint little cabin underground. When her father finally deems her ready to go on a borrowing expedition, Arrietty is spotted by a human boy named Shawn. Both their curiosities of the other worldcannot be quenched. Finally, despite their differences, they realize there is nothing to be afraidof. Rather, it is the comic, but threatening, old lady, Hara, that puts Arrietty’s family’s lives in danger. The rest of the story unfolds as a beautiful, meaningful movie—the spotlight on Arrietty and Shawn’s friendship.

This is the English version of theJapanese classic, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, written and executive produced by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is made to feel like hand-drawn animation. It is different from Dreamworks or Pixar animated films. Even though there is no magic, moving castles, wild goose chases through the skies, orthe usual whimsical elements in Miyazaki’s movies, Arrietty puts a new spin on our world from a whole new perspective.

From Arrietty’s point of view, everything is huge. Her world is fullof life and color, and it is presented in a breathtaking and creative way.The art is beautiful, every detail meticulously perfected, and kids will be able to enjoy it without being sidetracked by any inappropriate laughs. Arrietty has no need for pop or innuendo references; the magic storytelling is enough to entrance viewers of all ages. The pacing may seem a little slow for younger kids, but the older ones will take the time to appreciate the stunning, intricate images.

The real beauty of this film lies in the friendship between Shawn and Arrietty. The contrast between these characters is profound, and not only in size: Shawn has heart problems and his will to live is weak, while Arrietty is a strong-willed, curious, joyful girl who is determined to live. She tells him, “Sometimes you have to fight for the things that are worth fighting for.” Her determination to survive inspires Shawn to fight to see the next day. The audience learns that no friendship—or life—is too small.

Shawn and Arrietty’s bond is unbreakable, and they are willing to sacrifice for each other. As the Bible says about friendship, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). Hidden underneath the adventure they undertake, Arrietty teaches the importance of friendship in life.

Indeed, we have the greatest friend in Jesus, who laid down his life for us even before we were born. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (NIV).” God wants our friendship too. This is what Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends,” John 15:15.

Visually rich and with moving depth, “Arrietty” is a film for everyone. There is no objectionable context. As you watch, don’t forget that life is worth living and believe that God will empower you to be all that you can be, just as the words of the Apostle Paul: “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” —Philippians 4:13.

First published @


About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation .

Posted on February 18, 2012, in Movie Reviews, Star Rapture Blog and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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