By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, USA)


When Marnie Was There: Another Spectacle from Studio Ghibli


When Marnie Was There is the newest addition to the amazing franchise of Studio Ghibli, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. This movie originally stars Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura, and Nanako Matsushima in the original Japanese version. The English dubbed version stars Hailee Steinfeld, Kiernan Shipka, and Geena Davis. This movie tells the story of teenage girl named Anna who is dealing with anxiety and depression who goes to the countryside to stay with relatives for health reasons. She then becomes infatuated with a mansion named the Marsh House where a teenage girl named Marnie begins to become Anna’s obsession. The movie follows this narrative with many mystery plot points that intrigues the audience, while filling the audience with sadness and loneliness and how those emotions can affect us as human beings. This movie fills your heart with beautiful emotions as well a brilliant narrative, a beautiful score, and stunning animation.

My Thoughts:

This movie is close to my heart. I grew up with anime as a child, while watching TV shows like Yugioh, Cowboy Bebop, and of course Dragon Ball Z. But, recently I began watching anime movies and the juggernaut of animated movies known as Studio Ghibli. And, I say animated movies instead of anime cause these films are not just some of the best anime films ever made, but they are also some of the best animated movies ever made. I would even go as far to say these films are some of the best movies ever made in general. We’re talking about movies like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, When the Wind Rises, Princess Mononoke, Only Yesterday, Castle in the Sky, and now When Marnie Was There. This movie is another addition to this incredible body of work made by this studio. When Marnie was There completely dives into the realistic situations kids can face with depression, anxiety, and loneliness.


This is such a beautiful story, and personally it affected me so much. As this movie explains depression and displays how it can others. Personally it reminded me of my battle with depression, and the emotions I felt during that time. I have yet to watch this movie completely without bawling. The animation in this movie is completely stunning as well. I found myself questioning whether I was watching live action or if this movie was an animation. I love this movie. Not just because of my personal attachment to the film, but the film in general is stunning. The narrative of this film is excellent because of the beautiful moments that show these kids dealing with the challenges of insecurity, anxiety, sadness, and many others.

The score in this movie is brilliant as well. As it helps take those emotions that the film creates through excellent dialogue and animation, and makes those emotions explode and grow organically. That’s another thing this film feels completely organic and realistic. This film is easily relatable as everyone feels the emotions these characters feel and go through. As for the voice overs, I have watched both the Japanese and English versions of the film, and both are beautifully done. The voice actors help portray the characters emotions and narratives beautifully. I apologize for using the word beautiful so much, but there’s really no other way I can describe this film other than beautiful.


The narrative is beautiful, the voice acting is perfect, and the animation is stunning. I cannot get enough of this movie and my favorite part is it teaches children something. As kid’s movies, today especially in the US, are more known more teaching children how to say the word “banana” with yellow idiots running around. This movie doesn’t do that it teaches kids about issues that they will face in life. And, gives ways to deal with them in an entertaining and beautiful way.

Flaws of the Film:

None. To be honest, I don’t have any flaws with the film. Some other reviewers have referred to how the mystery of the film is unfolded to slow at times. I disagree I feel the pace of the film is perfect and the movie’s narrative answers those mysteries completely so in all honesty the flaws that some have listed are ridiculous in my opinion.

Final Thoughts & Grade:

I love When Marnie Was There, and Studio Ghibli continues its reign on top. As they continue to make the best animated movies in the world today. This movie’s focuses on real issues that are completely relatable in accordance to a beautifully written script. The movie is remarkably made through brilliant direction, emotional performances, a beautiful score, and breathtaking animation. I am going to give this movie a A+. This movie is my first A+, and I hope to have more because I love movies especially great movies like this one. Do you guys agree? What’s your favorite Studio Ghibli film? Post in the comments below and as always have a blessed day.

Rating: 5/5


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