Saturday, March 24, 2012

A world of hopes, a world of fears

Mis hermanas and I loved The Littles when we were kids; The Borrowers we considered the slightly boring ancestor, but liked conceptually nonetheless. So when Mi Hermana en Michigan mentioned that The Secret World of Arrietty was the only movie she knew about it theatres at the moment, it seemed like Providence when a friend in Seattle suggested watching it.

Overall, the story is cute. A boy with a weak heart goes to the country to recuperate, in a house where a family of tiny people-creatures lives. The Borrower girl, Arrietty, wants to explore the bigger world, but puts her family in jeopardy by befriending humans.

There's a dark sort of undertone to the whole story: the boy is going to have an operation and is obsessed with dying; Arrietty's family lives in isolation, not knowing whether or not there are any other Borrowers like them left; the human housekeeper is a bizarrely controlling and manipulative "caretaker". And then there's the one little "wild" Indian-looking Borrower who runs around with face paint and a bow and arrow, which was not cool; this is 2012, and that sort of imagery is a relic from a more unenlightened era.

As a coming-of-age tale, though, I thought it was aptly unresolved: both Arrietty and the boy learn that change is one of the only constants in life, and that their survival depends on that realization.

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