When Marnie Was There

Film, Animation
4 out of 5 stars
When Marnie Was There

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The final Studio Ghibli animated film

It’s the end of an era. After three decades legendary Japanese animator Studio Ghibli has ceased production, which means that ‘When Marnie Was There’ is its last film for the foreseeable future. Adapted from a 1967 novel by British author Joan G Robinson, this is the story of a depressed 12-year-old orphan, Anna, who makes an otherworldly new friend after moving in with her aunt and uncle in a small island village.

On the first night in her new home, Anna spies a dilapidated mansion on the other side of an inlet. During the day the house is a crumbling relic from another time, but at night it hums with the noise of a thousand pre-war parties, and a young woman with flowing blonde hair slips out of its front doors. Her name is Marnie and, gradually, with tearjerking force, we watch as Marnie’s uncertain place in the world allows Anna to find hers.

Save for occasional bursts of garish CGI, ‘Marnie’ is as gorgeously animated as anything the studio has ever made. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (‘The Secret World of Arrietty’) this isn’t a Ghibli masterpiece like ‘Spirited Away’, but it’s a moving, wistful farewell.


Release details

Release date:
Friday June 10 2016
103 mins

Cast and crew

Hiromasa Yonebayashi