When Marnie Was There: Studio Ghibi’s Grand Finale?

When Marnie Was There - Lost Magazine

Hari Lodwick takes a glimpse at the eerie beauty of When Marnie Was There.

I love Studio Ghibli’s films, and religiously saw each release in the cinema as soon as it was out. Somehow, though, the latest and possibly last Studio Ghibli film passed me by. Instead of finding When Marnie Was There on billboards, I found it in the anime section at JB Hi-Fi. Hidden away like a lost treasure.

still_226380When Marnie Was There is about Anna, a young Japanese girl with blue eyes, poor health and a troubled past. She moves to a small town and meets a charismatic blonde girl called Marnie who lives a privileged but neglected life in a big mansion by the lake. As Anna and Marnie grow closer, meeting for boat rides and moonlit picnics, Anna realises that she and Marnie have even more in common than she thought.

When Marnie Was There - Lost MagazineThis film is a gorgeous blend of sweet and sad with a dash of the eerie. The characters are honest and complex and the story is subtle yet gripping. Though pretty, the animation was perhaps not as spectacular as other Studio Ghibli films. This isn’t a showy number like Howl’s Moving Castle or a technical exercise like The Wind Rises. This film is understated and all about relationships and mood. A little like Grave of the Fireflies, with significantly less hysterical sobbing.

When Marnie Was There - Lost MagazineWhen Marnie Was There is a film to be proud of. Although perhaps not my favourite of the studio’s films (Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke tie for that title), it is still a fantastic addition to Studio Ghibli’s canon. If When Marnie Was There is indeed the last Studio Ghibli animated feature, it’s more disappearing behind the mist rather than exploding into fireworks.

Either way, the result is still beautiful.

Angharad 'Hari' Lodwick

Angharad (it’s Welsh, “Hari” for short) was born in Melbourne, spent five years as an ex-pat brat in Jakarta, Indonesia before moving to a 50 acre property in rural Victoria. With that kind of a polarised upbringing, it’s no wonder she turned out to be somewhat of a “free spirit”. Angharad’s obsessions are books and rabbits, both of which probably originate from reading Watership Down, Alice in Wonderland and Beatrix Potter repeatedly as a child. She has been affectionately dubbed a “crazy bunny lady” on more than one occasion. Angharad has a lot to say about human rights and modern culture, and loves to explore new ideas and push boundaries. She likes to experience what she writes, and has been known to befriend East Javanese tattoo artists, drive up erupting volcanoes and walk naked through the National Gallery of Australia. Angharad is hoping to bring a sense of wonder, curiosity and adventure to Lost Magazine, with or without clothes. If you want to risk catching her book fanaticism, you can also check out her book blog at http://tintededges.wordpress.com.

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