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Parents' Guide to

My Neighbor Totoro

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Beautifully animated fantasy about friendship fit for all.

Movie G 1988 86 minutes
My Neighbor Totoro Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 4+

Based on 160 parent reviews

age 4+

An absolute beautiful children's masterpiece

A kid's film where there is no antagonist. Kids being able to express themselves and expend their personalities into a world of nature that accepts them. Totoro is benign in his bigness and does not default into the cutesy Fievel syndrome that was popular in the 1980s. A slow-paced film that takes children's feelings seriously and reveals how much better it is to believe and to love each other and finds beauty in the mundane and in community. My four year old loves it and yells for Totoro at least 4 or 5 times a week.
2 people found this helpful.
age 5+

surprised no one has mentioned the disturbing scene!

Loved the movie with the exception of the part where they dredge the water looking for the little sister's body. My preteen niece was horrified, and thankfully my little ones were losing interest at that point. I actually regret buying it after reading so many positive reviews that don't mention this scene.
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (160 ):
Kids say (145 ):

For fans of Miyazaki's later work who haven't had the chance to check out his classics, this is a perfect movie to start. My Neighbor Totoro is considered Miyazaki's breakthrough film. Re-released and dubbed in English for a wider audience by Disney, the movie introduced Americans unfamiliar with anime to Miyazaki's signature themes: strong, independent girls as protagonists; whimsical creatures; an imaginative story; and a focus on how families interact with each other and their surrounding environment.

This isn't a spellbinding all-out adventure like Spirited Away or even the gentler journey that is Ponyo, but its leisurely paced story and lushly detailed visuals are part of the charm. Unlike the majority of animated movies, this isn't full of pop-culture or consumerist references that, while funny when handled correctly, can also bog down animated films or zap them of their childlike fantasy. Satsuki and Mei need Totoro to help them through a difficult time in their lives -- new home, sick mother -- and it's quite lovely to see the sweet little moments that cement their friendship. It's a shame more family movies aren't as simple and beautiful as My Neighbor Totoro.

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