All member reviews for My Neighbor Totoro

Common Sense Media says

Beautifully animated fantasy about friendship fit for all.
 

Users say

(out of 142 reviews)
age 4+
 
Review this title!
Adult Written byDeborahMama April 9, 2008
 

My 2-year-old loves Totoro best of all

My daughter needed a little hand-holding when Totoro (a friendly forest spirit) made loud noises, but this is her absolute favorite movie. Even though she didn't understand the whole movie at first (and may still not understand parts of it), she loves the imagery, the forest spirits, and the characters. I like that there is no villain -- too many kids' films for my taste feature the presence of absolute evil whose existence is never explained, and I'd rather not have my child see the world in terms of good and evil this way. Totoro has conflict, misbehavior, and scary bits, but all the characters have motivations we can understand and discuss.
Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written bydorland July 31, 2010
 
The fact that it gives a solid view of a past Japanese culture (that still survives on the same foundations today in many respects) makes it educational for older children. The role-model presented in the older sister should be an inspiration for younger girls looking for how to handle the younger sibling, especially the ones that are a handful. If more people looked and acted towards this way to each other, even in families themselves, so many issues we see today would be much more controllable in a social sense. While the soot sprites and initial encounters with the various Totor's and Catbus might be a bit scary to younger children it's also something that you can use to help children get past the bogyman phase on several levels as well as teach a spiritual aspect to nature that we so often try to push on young ones but don't give them the concrete connection they need to understand it. The tie to Shintoism and nature and ancestor spirits is yet another learning area for people unfamiliar with Japanese culture. This is one of my 1 year old and 4 year olds favorite movies and with the message and ideas it presents it's definitely one I don't mind them watching again and again.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bysquili July 11, 2009
 

Sweet, funny, unique

This is a terrific film. There is a bit of scary stuff with the talk of huanted houses and some loud growling and strange scurring creatures, but all that is side-stepped by the girls giggling and delighted reactions and their overall curiousity of the unknown. I found this movie to be delightfully sweet and wonderfully devoid of the usual fare of action-packed chases and predictable dramas. I love the strong girl message and the wonder and magic found in the mysterious creatures the girls befriend. The movie embraces and celebrates the magical world of childhood. I recommned this movie for the whole family.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 4 and 5 year old Written bysampsonite July 18, 2013
 

I wish every child could have a neighbour like Totoro, and a family like this.

I'm delighted this film has been recommended and absolutely agree it’s a 5 star film. But I can't believe it has only gained 1 point each for positive role models and messages! Every character of this film is a walking example of care, compassion, resilience and intelligence. They don’t talk about how good they’re going to be – they just do it. Maybe that’s why it’s less obvious. For example, the Dad doesn’t have some pivotal moment where he realises, “and now I’m going to be a really good Dad”. No, he just IS a really good Dad ALL the time. They are moving house, his wife is seriously ill, he’s sole parent, he still has to work – pretty stressful situation huh? What do we see from him? Quiet, calm, resilience and an unflappable positive attitude. What’s the effect on his girls? They feel secure and safe even during a period of great stress for the family. Ie: benchmark positive role model. Satsuki shows tremendous maturity for her age, attempting to step into her Mum’s shoes while she is ill and being a superb older sister to Mei. Mei is the most tenacious, rambunctious, brave little 4 yo who can stare down any fear, except the fear of losing her mother. The neighbouring Grandma (and neighbours in general) show community values of practical support and compassion for the new family in a way that most of us would dream to see these days. And then there’s Totoro himself. Yes – he is a bit scary on first sight. And that roar! But from the minute Mei roars back at him any child will know he is a friend. The fact that he is this mysterious giant monster with a mighty roar and sharp claws sends a vital message to kids – “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.” (St Francis de Sales) [PLOT SPOILERS COMING UP.] No moment sums this up better than how he responds to Satsuki’s desperation to find Mei. He doesn’t talk; he smiles assuredly and lets out the most mighty roar of the film to summon the magic cat bus. The cat bus doesn’t talk either. He just rotates his destination sign until it says “Mei”, yowls out her name, and tears off with Satsuki on board. And as Satsuki sees her sister’s name on the sign she instantly knows (as do we) that everything is going to be OK. As a parent that moment is one of the most moving I’ve ever seen in a film. I’m tearing up just writing about it. Why? I don’t know. But my guess is that it shows how the makers of this film have established such a genuine relationship between the sisters that we truly feel the joy and relief that Satsuki must feel in that moment. I could write forever. It’s a beautiful film and one that reveals more and more each time, and because so much is ambiguous it leaves much for families to talk about. Is the Totoro real? Does it matter? He’s a symbol of the compassion and strength in a time of difficulty. He appears in these children’s lives to give them a helping hand only when they truly need it and only for as long as they do. And at some point, all of us need a hand. While I had always enjoyed this film, the beauty of its messages never struck me until we lent this film to another family who were the process of losing a grandparent to cancer. When we got it back the Mum said; “that was beautiful. I think every family needs a Totoro.”
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 6 and 6 year old Written byRecordsMom August 15, 2009
 

What a kids' movie should be

A loving father is always a plus. No stupid adults is another. Add a sense of wonder and caring, and you have a movie that should be a cornerstone of a child's film literature. Children may need help understanding some of the emotional content, but that's not a bad thing. Messages: Trust. Wonder. Concern for the sick. Role models: Father who cares for his children. Neighbor who tells stories. A child who undertakes a daring journey to comfort her ill mother. An entire village who looks for the missing girl.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byMyWinterFirefly February 6, 2010
 

Best Movie Ever

It's the best family movie ever made. And parents can actually watch it. It's so much better than anything Disney, it doesn't involve evil villains or too-cute animals. The story line is unique and the characters are normal children. The film is basically about being a child. This is still one of my favourite films. Also for older children you can get the japanese version with sub-titles so it can help them read in a fun way.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 7 and 11 year old Written bySuzuki Mom August 19, 2009
 

Go for the Vintage version for all ages

there is the "old" version and the newer Disneyized version. The Disney version is very dissapointing when compared to the nuances and little revelations of the vintage version. The older one is the translated Japanese version. The Japanese viewpoint on the reverence of nature is more apparent and more meaningful. Disney is almost insulting in its main streaming changes.
Parent of a 3 year old Written byBob Loblaw August 11, 2009
 

Great for 3 year olds and parents alike!

What a wonderful film! Not only is it my 3 year old daughter's favorite movie, but it holds up to repeated viewings by Dad as well. It's hard to find movies that are appropriate for toddlers - to find one that adults can watch as well is even harder! I know there are some concerns about the scene where the father is bathing with his girls - all I can say is that there is absolutely nothing sexual about it, and I'm guessing (as I'm not Japanese) that this is simply a cultural difference. In any case, I don't feel it's anything to be concerned about.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old November 17, 2013
 

Wonderful

This used to be my favroute movie when I was little now I still love it many of the characters are kind and warmhearted.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byBlueDragonMaster98 May 31, 2010
 

Very good

Fun and nearly perfect. There is a lot of loud laughing in the Japanese version (I didn't watch it in English). However, some Japanese bathing methods may be strange to Americans, as all three of them are in the bath naked (the father and two daughters). Nothing sexual, but the oldest is cleaning herself outside of the tub, and dumps water over herself. You can tell she is naked. She then jumps into the tub where her younger sister is as well as their dad. It's a short scene, just keep in mind that the customs of Japan and Asia (or anywhere else) are not that of the US. Note- I try to keep myself out of any statistics, meaning- I do not say we or us; it sounds a bit conceited sometimes.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written byTomDarla October 12, 2009
 

Wonderful film for all ages

Our kids (5 and 2) absolutely love Totoro and have watched it countless times already. It is so unlike other movies for children, devoid of the typical violence and special effects, yet is wildly imaginative and engaging. It's a very tranquil movie, perfect with popcorn before bed.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written bycrazyannie September 5, 2009
 

A pleasure for everyone.

This movie has been a family favorite since the first time we put it in the DVD player. My husband and I think that either every artist on the movie had a 3 year old, or they imported some to watch for hours and hours --- the depictions of Mei were so *perfect* in capturing the zest for life and curiosity of that age. We enjoyed talking with our kids about Totoro as a spirit, as a guardian angel, and as part of a belief system different from, but just as magical, as our own.
Written byAnonymous June 15, 2014
 

Should be one of the first they see

My Neighbor Totoro is a great example of a family movie. More often than not, when a movie is billed as a family movie, this means that it will be enjoyed by small children and the rest of the family will be bored out of their minds. Totoro is not such a film. It is a movie that is entirely universal, transcending age and level of cynicism. Here is a fantasy movie that is a complete and totally a fantasy. The great film critic Roger Ebert wrote: "Here is a film for the world that we should live in, rather than the world we inhabit." This is true, it is a movie that is so nice and beautiful that some adults would cast it off as stupid, but it is made with such imagination and love that they would be called back in immediately. It is really impossible to write what makes this so good in anywhere but a dictionary length book, so lets focus on the parental side. The films climax, if you can call it that, is scary, yes that should be said. But everything ends up okay, and better than ever. Besides that, this film is one that just oozes niceness from the pores. The people and fantastic creatures are, well, good neighbors that kids can look up to, and the messages, ones of friendship, love, and remaining in touch with nature are ones that children should be hearing. They should watch this early, so they go through childhood loving it. In fact, as soon as the child can comprehend narrative, this one must be added to the list.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 7 years old February 6, 2011
 
I loved it, but toddlers could freak out when Satsuki thinks her mom will die. Violence is totally NOT an issue, and only 1 insult when Satsuki tells Mei to "Stop being a baby and just grow up!!" Preschoolers and kindergardners will posetivly love it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byffdfdsf November 20, 2014
 
well there is a part in the movie were they are all the dad and children are naked and share a bath together
Kid, 11 years old July 16, 2014
 

Good for the whole family

This movie is great! It's good for the whole family. Totoro is really awesome and it's full of great moments. This movie is great and one for the whole family. It might get a little scary for younger viewers at the end, but it works out. I really like all of Studio Ghibli's films (or at least the ones I've seen) My favorite character is the Cat Bus, so cool.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bytriangularwisdom July 15, 2014
 

Loved this movie ever since I was little

I first saw the movie when my dad brought it home when I was about 2 or 3 and I've loved it ever since! I don't think it's scary or creepy at all.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 1, 3, and 5 year old Written byMelissaRoz June 14, 2014
 

totoro roars and bares huge teeth

After reading great reviews, I decided to watch this with my 5 years old. He was quite scared of Totoro, who never talks but only roars loudly. Totoro also has a huge mouth full of scary teeth. Totoro and the cat bus were the scariest scenes for my child; more so than the soot gremlins. With lots of cuddles and talking through the scary parts, there doesn't seem to be any lasting damage from watching this movie. I would use caution with sensitive kids and definitely watch it with them.
Kid, 12 years old July 10, 2013
 

Beautiful art and great family film

This film is most defiantly one of Miyazaki's best productions. A great famliy movie experience. Good for all audiences. Spectacular artwork. A beautiful film. Mostly recommended for younger kids. A must for Young anime fans.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bybabysitter89 March 28, 2011
 

One of my favorites!

I love this movie, and watched it countless times as a kid. But I think this review downplays the emotional intensity of it just a bit. There are parts when the younger sister goes missing, and also when the mother's health is very uncertain, and these moments were quite scary. It has a happy ending and all these conflicts are resolved, but I was glad that I was there to reassure them, in the moment, that everything would be okay.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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