All member reviews for My Neighbor Totoro

Common Sense Media says

Beautifully animated fantasy about friendship fit for all.
 

Users say

(out of 141 reviews)
age 4+
 
Review this title!
Parent of a 2 year old Written byjinx-wolf March 21, 2014
Kid, 12 years old March 8, 2014
age 2+
 

For all ages!

Very good movie, for babies, kids, tweens, teens and adults! NOTE: There is one scene where the two girls and the dad are taking a family bath, but we see NO NUDITY. Maybe just a little glimpse of one of the girl's butt. Also, since there is no violence, the mother is sick at a hospital. The cat bus may be a little freaky.... Totally friendly though. (The reason I did green 2, is because I don't know how to do green 0)
Teen, 17 years old Written bySeth S. March 8, 2014
age 3+
 

Miyazaki at his very worst ... pointless:

Well Spirited Away, it looks like you're finally off the hook! I have now seen seven Hayao Miyazaki movies, with widely varying degrees of enjoyment. Princess Mononoke and Porco Rosso are legitimately fantastic films, animation or otherwise. Castle in the Sky is a largely enjoyable movie, bogged down with a weak 3rd act and a bloated run-time. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Howl's Moving Castle both had interesting parts, but were ultimately too scattershot and tedious to be fully enjoyable. And Spirited Away was easily the most overrated and unsatisfying of the whole bunch ... until I saw My Neighbor Totoro. Now, let me preface. I will say that I probably enjoyed My Neighbor Totoro more than Spirited Away. But I also think that Spirited Away is the more competent film, from a storytelling standpoint. At least Spirited Away has conflict, and threatening situations, and characters that have to face real adversary. My Neighbor Totoro just kind of ... exists. It comes and goes without saying or doing anything of particular note. It has nothing interesting to say. The Kusakabe family arrives in their new home with unbreakable spirits, but heavy hearts. The mother of the family is in the hospital with a nameless illness. They go through the normal excitement of moving into a new house, but always yearn for the day when their family will be complete once again. Young Satsuki and Mei gape at their new surroundings in complete wonder. What starts out as a relatively normal domestic drama, suddenly turns into quite the fantasy when Mei, the younger of the two girls, stumbles upon a massive sleeping Totoro! Which is basically a giant, furry, rabbit-like forrest spirit. After that, there's really nothing more to talk about. Certainly nothing in the way of conflict. And that's one of the main problems with this film. Some say it's a blessing, some say it's a curse; but My Neighbor Totoro just doesn't have much in the way of interesting story. There's very little in the way of strife betwixt characters. The worse it gets is a heated conversation between Satsuki and Mei, where Satsuki points out the painfully obvious fact that Mei is acting like an obnoxious brat. Which leads to an equally trivial finale where Mei runs away from home and gets lost. It all feels so inconsequential. But what does (thankfully) work is the family drama side of things. I wasn't expecting the whole "sick mom" sub-plot to work so well, but it actually does. Even with only a few brief scenes, we really do care about Mrs. Kusakabe's recovery. For once in his life, it would have been fantastic if Miyazaki had a simple, down-to-earth story. But no, gotta throw in that ridicules Cat-Bus, right?! And here we have another flaw. The more fantastical side of the story is allotted just the right amount of screen-time to make it as awkward as possible. Is the movie going for full-on fantasy? Is it being a realistic drama? No, and no. It's really doing neither of these things. The fantasy elements show up whenever the movie needs a little extra oomph. Which is okay, if the film actually committed to that aspect of the story. But it never does. Right after something preposterous, we're right back to the contrived, but mostly effective domestic drama. It seems like Miyazaki really wants to cram in his trademark Eastern spirituality, even when the story didn't really lend itself to it. The existence of Forrest Spirits and Soot Spirits feels rather inappropriate for the story. For the most part, I've been able to accept this spirituality as a matter of course. But not in this movie. When Totoro (who does have some pretty adorable moments) and his two little Totoro friends (who are constantly adorable!) show up in the Kusakabe's garden to start growing trees and to fly around on that floating, spinning top thingy - I just had enough. I wasn't entranced. I almost laughed out loud. No, I do not accept this as a supposed "masterpiece" of animated filmmaking. No sir. And then the Cat-Bus happens. I appreciate the fact that it's a feat of imagination. But that doesn't mean I have to like it. It seems like everybody is enchanted with the Cat-Bus, but I was personally left shaking my head in horror and (much to my chagrin) condescension. The characters are mostly likable, but they're also fairly flat. As Miyazaki main characters go, Satsuki is pretty solid. Dakota Fanning, who has proved herself time and time again to be an exceptional actress, does all she can with the character. Both Miyazaki, and in turn, Elle Fanning, try really hard to make Mei a lovable character. And by trying really hard, I mean she basically yells all of her lines very enthusiastically. Tim Daly does give a nice supporting performance as Mr. Kusakabe. The final musical choice in the film is what ultimately pushed me over the edge of actively disliking this movie. So the last scene of the movie features Satsuki and Mei joyfully being flown back home by the exponentially creepy Cat-Bus, with "My Neighbor Totoro (The Ending Song)" playing in the background. During this scene, I came dangerously close to shouting "Nope!" at my screen at an uncomfortably high decibel level. I've rambled on enough. So, long and short: I didn't like My Neighbor Totoro. But at least I can congratulate it on (somehow) being worse than Spirited Away. In my opinion, that's not an easy achievement to pull off. "To-to-ro? You're Totoro! ... I bet you're Totoro." 3.5/10
Parent Written byRedLibertine February 9, 2014
age 3+
 

Really lovely film, quirky and offbeat...nice change from Disney princess !

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byamandolin December 14, 2013
age 3+
 

Good movie

When my kids were younger they took issue with the mother being sick and when Mei is lost, but they still liked it.
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Parent of a 5 year old Written byYogaMommy September 7, 2013
age 4+
 

Our movie night favorite!

This is one of our family's all time favorites. Beautiful animation and a fun, engaging story make this a lovely film. There is no romance and no action adventure. The scenes move slowly enough for sensitive and young viewers. Totoro himself is a big, friendly animal. His roaring could be perceived as scary, but the girls' lack of fear seemed to be enough reassurance for my 4-year-old daughter. He actually roars when he is happy. There is a scene in which the little girl, Mei, is lost, but it is not treated with an atmosphere of great peril - no foreboding music or evil villains. Masterfully dubbed-over in English, this film also provides great exposure to Japanese culture.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byAPAdam August 2, 2013
age 4+
 

Top Notch Film for Kids

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Teen, 14 years old Written bylaurensb July 1, 2013
age 4+
 

One of Miyazaki's Best Movies

I absolutely love this movie. It's a cute story with a deep meaning behind it. Once I figured out the meaning it kind of freaked me out. Still, it was an amazing movie with imaginative characters and beautiful animation. Spoiler: It had me thinking that the mother was about to die, and I was close to crying through it, thinking of what would happen if she died in the movie. It was so sad how Mei was bringing the corn all the way just to give it to her mother. Overall, it's a really good movie and you should see it.
What other families should know
Great messages
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Kid, 9 years old June 30, 2013
age 5+
 

My Neighbor Totoro is Everything You Want in a Good Movie

This Movie is The 5th Miyazaki Film I Have Watched (Out of 9) It Was Such a Cute Movie With an Amazing Story and Plot. With Breathtaking Animation I Think My Neighbor Totoro should be in the Top 5 Best Movies Ever Made.
What other families should know
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Teen, 17 years old Written byJkittymeow June 21, 2013
age 5+
 

;D

Great movie!!!
Teen, 13 years old Written byCharChar3 March 22, 2013
age 2+
 

Amazing and a good watch

This a amazing film for everyone! It's funny in parts and really enjoyable. It's very creative and almost like a dream, the art/drawing is very good too. I love this film and have watched it tones!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Educator Written byunikkorns March 13, 2013
age 5+
 

Overall Fun Movie

We were learning about Japan for my Afterschool Program, and I picked this movie because of the reviews I read here. The kids seemed to enjoy it overall. I heard them laughing a lot, and I've never seem them so engaged in a movie we've watched. A couple of things others should know is that I did have a scared 5-year-old at one point, so kids may need a little comforting during the movie. There's also a scene where the father takes a bath with his 2 daughters, which is apparently not weird in Japan. They show one of the character's bottoms in that scene. That would have been nice to know beforehand. One of the 10-year-olds brought it up to me and I diffused it, but it was still not a pleasant surprise. There's also a storyline about the mother being sick, but it's not too serious and everything seems to end on a positive note.
What other families should know
Educational value
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Teen, 13 years old Written bydogsukulele678 February 28, 2013
age 4+
 

awesome movie-all ages love it!

this movie is such a cute movie! And has no bad things you have to worry about.
What other families should know
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Parent Written bySweekune February 11, 2013
age 2+
 

An excellent film

A lovely film for all ages. Unlike Disney's offering, My Neighbour Totoro offers a laid back film with insight into Japanese culture. It is about two girls who move to the countryside to be nearer their mother whilst she is in hospital. They meet and become friends with some adorable "trolls" (totoro is the Japanese word for troll but they resemble large rabbits). The film is about their adventures together.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 8 years old January 12, 2013
age 5+
 

My Neighbor Totoro Review

I love this movie!
What other families should know
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Educator and Parent of a 6 and 9 year old Written byTV free family January 9, 2013
age 4+
 

Beautiful, gentle and soothing

Most adults find the dust bunnies and Totoro creepy but for some reason, the children don't. This is the magic of Miyazaki, he has a way to draw children in sweet gentle stories that only they really get, since adults are all too concerned with fear and danger. The only somewhat concerning part for the children is when the younger sister disappears. My 6 year-old was quite worried the first time. But the worry is not about strangers, only about where she might be and when she will be found. All strangers are nice and helpful in the movie. Whenever I watch this movie with my boys (now 6 and 9, but we first saw it 3 years ago) I am reminded that their world is one of love and kindness everywhere they go. For them, strangers are always nice, caring people, even if they are dark fuzzy flying "things" or huge "monsters" like Totoro. How soothing to be in a world like that for a few precious moments. I highly recommend this movie.
Parent Written byaimless1 December 29, 2012
age 3+
 

Awesome and sweet movie!

Our family LOVES this movie. It is funny and gets more endearing each time you watch it. The first time I watched it I don't think I really "got" it just because I think it feels different than the American animated movies. I can watch it over and over again and find more humor each time.
Kid, 10 years old November 11, 2012
age 2+
 

Family Friendly Film and Fun for Everyone!

My Neighbor Totoro truly is a great movie. This movie has positive messages and awesome role models. This film is family friendly, and it's a lot of fun. Overall, I would recommend seeing this film.
What other families should know
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Teen, 17 years old Written byTotoro fan September 23, 2012
age 5+
 

A wonderful movie. Yet it's tales of childhood are now shrouded by capitalism

This is the most amazing movie ever. I saw this when I was about 6 and was totally wrapped up in the magical world of it, dancing around my garden to make it grow just as Totoro did. I still find it incredibly meaningful and charming. This movie has great values about hope, and also has lessons about community. Having seen the original English dubbed version first, the disney version is really unnecessary capitalism at play. The voicing is now by famous actors, in hopes that they will bring in more revenue. On top of that, the original language has been changed, so that the original meanings of some scenes have been altered. It's more satisfying to see the old version than it is to see the the new version dubbed. Please don't support this corporation greed.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Teen, 15 years old Written bymoviefan115 July 26, 2012
age 4+
 

A movie about beautiful friendship

This film is a lovely piece of art, and plus, it has some really positive messages that are displayed through the friendship of the girls with not only Totoro, but also with their family and friends.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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