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Parents' Guide to

The Secret World of Arrietty

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Deeply felt anime about loneliness and friendship.

Movie G 2012 94 minutes
The Secret World of Arrietty Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 49 parent reviews

age 6+

Comparatively Gentle Film Is More Emotionally Intense Than Visually Intense

I am a huge fan of the "little people" genre. I loved "The Littles" as a child and am thrilled to see a high quality animated film made that captures the spirit of that genre of story. This one roughly follows the story of "The Borrowers." The film does an amazing job of illustrating the way a house looks to a 5 inch person. The film is very gentle and contains very little that will bother any child who has made it through "Toy Story." I ended up deciding the film was not appropriate for my very sensitive 4 year old. There are some moments in which characters appear to be in life-threatening peril, and my son would not have handled those scenes very well at all. The preschool set, however, is not the target audience for this film. The main relationship in the film reminded me a lot of the "impossible" friendship between ET and Elliott (ET), and Wilbur and Charlotte (Charlotte's Web). The film is really targeted at children who are able to fully grasp the bittersweet nature of that type of dramatic situation. There is a fairly slow part in the middle that would make a good bathroom break, but if your child is old enough to grasp the ramifications of all that is going on in the film, it is actually a fairly gripping tale with some scenes of suspense.

This title has:

Great role models
Too much violence
2 people found this helpful.
age 4+

Sweet and engaging

Watched with my very sensitive 3.5yo and she loved it. Mild and sweet, but with enough action to keep the kids engaged. The only part that could have been an issue is when the boy talks about the fact that everyone days someday, and that he might die because he has a surgery tomorrow. I was glad she seemed to have just let that statement go by her, but potentially terribly loaded lines for those dealing with sickness, surgeries or the loss of someone close. Strong young female character is a big bonus.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (49 ):
Kids say (38 ):

The beauty of Studio Ghibli movies is that they have such depth and heart, and this film is a perfect example. On the surface is the wonder of a teen discovering a miniature counterpart who lives in a world much like his own, only within the walls and under the floorboards of his house. But even more substantial is how the movie straightforwardly presents the plight of a boy who's often left alone and is lonely, and of a girl who doesn't get to interact with others like herself. In Ghibli movies, children and teens are allowed to be sad, despondent, worried, afraid, and burdened -- it's not a sugar-coated world. And yet the story unfurls with no heavy-handedness, just a realism that doesn't condescend to its young audience. Our kids can handle complicated material, as long as it's handled intelligently and with compassion.

Viewers used to the whiz bang, frenetic pace of other animated features may find The Secret World of Arrietty slow-moving and lacking in special effects, but that's its strength. The artwork is gorgeous and meticulous, the story beautiful. It doesn't need thunderous gimmicks or musical cues -- or characters so outlandish that they're ready-made for collectibles bought at fast-food restaurants -- to be a wonderful movie. It simply is.

Movie Details

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