When marnie Was There

Ghi­bli ghost story

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 10 June u | 103 min­utes

Di­rec­tor Hiro­masa Yonebayashi Cast Hailee ste­in­feld, Kier­nan shipka, Grey Grif­fin, Geena davis

When Marnie Was There may be the last film from Ghi­bli, the studio which made anime epics like Spir­ited Away. But it’s on the other end of the scale. It’s an in­ti­mate, sub­tle story of a soli­tary girl trav­el­ling to a re­mote coastal vil­lage, meet­ing a mys­te­ri­ous girl sur­rounded by mist and marsh. Ah, but is this stranger (Marnie) a real girl at all?

It’s de­bat­able whether this some­times dream­like, fam­i­lyfriendly film is re­ally a ghost story. The end­ing gives us some an­swers, but still leaves room for in­ter­pret­ing what we’ve seen – a bit like The In­no­cents with­out the me­nace. The slow pace re­minds you of a vin­tage BBC drama.

But if you can take the dawdling, this is a lovely lit­tle film. When it comes to the mys­tery, view­ers may twig early on, but that doesn’t mat­ter: at heart this is a del­i­cate story of a girl learn­ing that ev­ery­body hurts, but that help­ing a friend can help save your­self. And the dubbed ver­sion, fea­tur­ing Hailee Ste­in­feld (True Grit) and Kier­nan Shipka (Mad Men), is ex­cel­lent. An­drew Os­mond

The film is based on a rather for­got­ten 1967 Bri­tish chil­dren’s novel by Joan Robin­son, which is set in Nor­folk.

Michael McIntyre’s act con­tin­ued.

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