The Secret World of Arrietty
Release Date: February 17, 2012
Audience: All ages
Runtime: 94 minutes
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Company
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Producer: Toshio Suzuki
Address Comments To:Robert Iger, President/CEO
The Walt Disney Company (Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures)
Rich Ross, Chairman, Walt Disney Studios
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: (818) 560-1000
Based on the 20th Century children’s novel THE BORROWERS by Mary Norton, the movie tells the story of a 14-year-old girl named Arietty. She and her family are tiny people known as “borrowers” who live under the floor of an old house. They survive off of “borrowing” food and other needed items from the humans who live in the house.
Arrietty and her family have managed to avoid being detected by living a simple life, enjoying each other’s company in their home under the house, and maintaining no contact with the outside world, especially humans. Things change when a young boy named Shawn (voice of David Henrie) moves into the house to improve his health in the country air. An unfortunate occurrence on a borrowing trip inside the house leads Shawn to discover Arrietty. Reluctantly, she forms a relationship with a human – the intimidating figure she’s been taught her entire life to fear.
When housekeeper Haru (voiced by Carol Burnett) catches wind of Shawn’s sudden interest in peeking under the floorboards of the house, she’s relentless in discovering the little people and stamping them out. Arrietty finds her tiny world turned upside down and must seek help in places she never thought she would go.
THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY is saturated with environmental references, showcasing the beauty of the environment and using the juxtaposition of the powerful humans living in the house against the seemingly powerless borrowers who “take only what they need.” This becomes a euphemism for an environmentalist message. However, the beautiful depictions of nature throughout the movie add much to its overwhelmingly visual qualities.
SECRET WORLD also deals with themes of fate and immortality, as referenced in the Shawn character, who is a young boy dealing with a terminal illness. He makes mention of his acceptance of the fact that he’s dying and can do nothing about it.
The theme of family is an important one, as Arrietty is shown to rely on her family and respect her parents. Disobedience is not tolerated. When Arietty disobeys her parents and goes to see Shawn, she is punished with serious ramifications.
Originated by Studio Ghibli, THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY was originally released in Japan in 2010, and became the highest grossing film for that entire year. The Disney English-dubbed version will be sure to enjoy success with child and adult audiences everywhere.
THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY is a visually engaging movie with a compelling story of friendship, family and the importance of human life. These uplifting elements are marred by a Romantic, environmentalist message. For instance, the movie pits the powerful humans living in the house with the powerless “borrowers” who “take only what they need.” This becomes a euphemism for the movie’s environmentalist message. Even so, THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY is full of beautiful depictions of nature that add much to its stunning visual qualities.