Anime Film Review: When Marnie Was There

When Marnie Was There is a film released by Studio Ghibli and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. The story is based the Joan G. Robinson novel of the same name.

When Marnie Was There
Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi/em>
Written by: Masashi Andō, Keiko Niwa, and Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Starring: Sara Takatsuki and Kasumi Arimura
Run Time: 103 minutes
Rated: PG

The film focuses on Anna, an introverted 12-year-old girl who suffers from asthma attacks. Anna doesn’t discuss her feelings with her foster parents, which causes her foster mother to wonder what’s wrong. But after Anna collapses from an asthma attack at school, she is sent to spend the summer with a couple of her foster mother’s relatives out in a rural, seaside town because the air is clearer there.

When Anna arrives and starts exploring her new location, she sees an abandoned and dilapidated mansion across a salt marsh. She wades across the marsh to examine it, and wonders why it feels so familiar. She learns that the mansion used to be a vacation home for a foreigner family but that it has been empty for a long time. Anna begins having dreams of a blond girl in the mansion.

One day, Anna encounters a mysterious blond girl around her age named Marnie. For some reason, Anna finds that she’s easily able to befriend and care about Marnie, when she’s never been able to do that with anyone else before. But as the film progresses, hints are dropped that perhaps Anna’s interactions with Marnie are actually a dream. But the way the film is done, it can be hard to tell where reality ends and where dreams begin. There’s also a major reveal right near the end of the film, but I had pretty much already figured it out before all the pieces for the reveal were presented. But the film had built itself up so well that I still had an emotional reaction when the final pieces were put together for the movie’s big revelation.

The story in When Marnie Was There was very well-told, and the character development for both Anna and Marnie was executed in a realistic way. The character of Anna is very relatable to the audience, and the film’s theme of friendship also resonates with viewers.

It’s interesting to note that When Marnie Was There has the feel of a typical Studio Ghibli film, yet it does something that I don’t think any other has. This movie has strong female lead characters, yet none of the male characters are terribly crucial for progressing the overall story. The only male characters present in the film are all older than Anna, with two of them being old men. It was great to see a film where the female characters shine and are the ones who progress the story forward.

While the animation is what I’ve come to expect from Studio Ghibli, it still looked lush and was great to look at. The visuals for When Marnie Was There were just as compelling as the actual story, and the combination of these elements makes this a standout film from the studio.

When it comes to the DVD release itself, it includes three bonus features. The first is a nearly 13 minute featurette titled, “Behind the Scenes with the Voice Cast.” This feature focuses on the members of the English dub cast, whose interviews are intercut with footage from the film. It’s pretty standard for the “behind the scenes” featurettes that have been included on U.S. home video releases for Studio Ghibli films.

Next is “Foreign Trailers and TV Spots,” which runs for six minutes and 22 seconds. There are seven spots in all, and they have Japanese audio with English subtitles. The final extra is the U.S. trailer, which is one minute and 40 seconds in length.

When all is said and done, When Marnie Was There is a great film that fans of Studio Ghibli should be able to appreciate and enjoy. If it turns out that this ends up being the final theatrical film to come out from Studio Ghibli, at least they were able to go out on a high note with When Marnie Was There.

When Marnie Was There Is Nominated for an Oscar

It has been announced that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There for the Animated Feature Film category of the 88th Academy Awards. The other nominees for the category are Anomalisa, Boy and the World, Inside Out, and Shaun the Sheep Movie.

GKids, the North American distributor for When Marnie Was There, describes the film’s story as:

Sent from her foster home in the city one summer to a sleepy town by the sea in Hokkaido, Anna dreams her days away among the marshes. She believes she’s outside the invisible magic circle to which most people belong – and shuts herself off from everyone around her, wearing her “ordinary face.” Anna never expected to meet a friend like Marnie, who does not judge Anna for being just what she is. But no sooner has Anna learned the loveliness of friendship than she begins to wonder about her newfound friend…

The Oscars will be presented at an award ceremony on February 28, 2016.

Source: ANN

When Marnie Was There and The Boy and The Beast Are Nominated for Annie Awards

The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, have announced the nominees for its 43rd annual Annie Awards. Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There and Mamoru Hosoda’s The Boy and The Beast received nominations in a new category: Best Animated Feature-Independent.

ASIFA-Hollywood added the category in order to “recognize not only features in wide release, but also the independent animators, international studios, anime and special productions that might not otherwise get the attention they deserve.” The other nominees include Filme de Papel’s Boy and the World and Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.

In addition When Marnie Was There‘s Hiromasa Yonebayashi was nominated for Outstanding Achievement awards in the writer and director categories.

The Annie Awards recognize outstanding achievement in animation. The awards ceremony will be held on February 6, 2016.

Source: ANN

When Marnie Was There Wins Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Prize

Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There anime film won the Children’s Jury Prize in the Animated Feature Film category of the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF). The award ceremony took place on November 1, 2015 during the festival’s closing ceremonies. The second prize went to the French/Belgian film Zarafa by Remi Bezancon and Jean-Christophe Lie. The festival ran from October 23-November 1, 2015.

Source: ANN

Three Anime Films Submitted For Animated Feature Oscar

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that at 16 films have been submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 88th Academy Awards to be held on February 28, 2015. Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There, Mamoru Hosoda’s The Boy and The Beast, and the religious anime film The Laws of the Universe Part 0 were all submitted for the award. A maximum of five films from the list will receive the nomination.

The full list of submitted films is:

  • Anomalisa
  • The Boy and The Beast
  • Boy and the World
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Home
  • Hotel Transylvania 2
  • Inside Out
  • Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
  • The Laws of the Universe Part 0
  • Minions
  • Moomins on the Riviera
  • The Peanuts Movie
  • Regular Show: The Movie
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water
  • When Marnie Was There

Source: ANN

When Marnie Was There Earns $500K in U.S. Theaters

Box Office Mojo is reporting that Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There earned US$41,664 on 33 screens in its seventh week at U.S. box office, bringing its total to US$513,205 as of July 9, 2015.

By comparison, Studio Ghibli’s previous animated film The Tale of Princess Kaguya earned $501,888 after eight weeks at the U.S. box office in December 2014, although the film opened on fewer screens in total.

When Marnie Was There earned US$27,388 in the U.S. from May 22-24, 2015 when it opened in the IFC Center in New York and the Landmark Nuart in Los Angeles on May 22. Additional theaters screened the film in the following weeks.

Source: ANN

When Marnie Was There Earns US$85,842 in its Fourth U.S. Weekend

Box Office Mojo is reporting that Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There anime film earned US$85,842 after opening in 28 more theaters in its fourth weekend in the U.S. This puts the film’s total gross to date at US$317,096.

The film earned US$27,388 in its U.S. opening weekend on May 22, 2015 after opening in two theaters. The film opened in nine more theaters in the U.S. in its second weekend and earned US$40,282. The film earned US$77,452 after opening in 25 more theaters in its third weekend in the U.S. The screening will expand to more cities in the coming weeks.

Source: ANN