When Marnie Was There

Possibly standing as the best anime I've ever seen, 'When Marnie Was There' was an emotional and inspirational movie that left me with absolutely no words. It's unforgettable, original, and I really hope to get the book and movie DVD for Christmas or my birthday. It's a story that made my heart wrench and turn, feel bittersweet and melancholy at the same time.


When she meets Marnie, a mysterious girl her age who lives in a beautiful mansion across a marsh, Anna is instantly drawn to her. Anna is visiting her relatives in a seaside town, Hokkaido after her mother is worried about her mental state. Anna, who is recalcitrant that her adoptive mother actually loves her and is very bashful, escapes to the town's beach strip to draw when she is drawn to a manor across the water. Then when she crosses the swamp at low tide, she gets closer to the house and is able to see a girl in the window. The girl is first seen in a bedroom window, as an older woman brushes her hair, but when they actually meet, their encounters are often some sort of lucid dreaming and ominous, and then Anna wakes up in a state of confusion to how and why she woke up where she did. Their relationship develops, going on small adventures where they learn more and more about each other and their lives. They become extremely close and create a beautiful and enthralling story, that's compelling and moving to watch.

First, the art style of the movie is just incredible and gorgeous. The pastel colors and soft tones in the film gave a calming aura, and completely fit the setting of the seaside town in rural Japan. There were no harsh colors, nothing clashed, and the mute colors of every scene tied in really well with the characters and their style. Art style is a very important factor for the quality of a movie(in my opinion). That and music, but I guess you could argue music is a form of art that also falls into this category. The background ambiance of the movie, the melodies of sound when something dramatic happens, when something heartfelt happens or maybe when something extremely happy occurs, all can be amplified by the music playing.

Characters are a vital component of a film. You wouldn't want to watch a movie with bad characters that you couldn't sympathize, cry, or be happy for. The two main characters in this movie are phenomenal, and I don't think there was one part in this movie when I was bored with Marnie or Anna at all. Anna, an introvert, asthmatic 12-year-old girl, who deals with her depressed and unexpressed emotions with drawing. Marnie, who is a sweet, delicate girl on the surface, is friendly and outgoing to Anna wanting to be her friend and keep their friendship a secret. She is innocent and bubbly, but later in the film, it's revealed there is more to her beneath the surface and that she has been through many traumatic things. Both these characters definitely drew me to the story more and more. Anna was not made too stereotypically depressed and victimized. She was soft-spoken, but not completely a victim in the story. She does her part to comfort and protect Marnie, just as Marnie returns the favor with the same amount of solace. Marnie also wasn't portrayed as a stereotypical girly girl, she is more than who she seems on the outside, which is showed in the windmill tower.

This is a perfect coming of age movie, with mysterious and heartwarming elements embedded into them. The end with Anna realizing Marnie is actually her grandmother and is caring for her in her time of need, just as she had when she was a baby. Her troubled past and how they were alike in more ways than Anna could realize was a very good plot and was heartwarming to watch. Anna became at peace at the end, accepting and understanding herself, made new friends, and came to good terms with her adoptive mother.


I'd rate this movie overall an 8.7 out of 10, only because it felt like the story was being dragged out towards the end, but that's really the only thing that wouldn't allow me give this movie a 10/10. I can't wait to get the DVD for X-mas and buy the book!

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