My last Oscar movie for this year is also possibly the last movie for the legendary Studio Ghibli.
When Marnie Was There looks beautiful, which we have come to expect. Its fantasy elements come more from the psychological aspects of the story than from the visuals. I haven’t seen Yonebayashi’s other directorial effort, The Secret World of Arietty, but this one is grounded in something resembling reality, unlike Miyasaki’s work, which always offers other-worldly delights like the soot thingies in Spirited Away, or the title character of Howl’s Moving Castle.
This movie carries a lot of emotional depth, and is honest about adolescent separation. The story is so complicated that the final few scenes that “explain” it come too late. I admit I’m usually slow on these things, but even after the explanation, I wasn’t quite sure who Marnie was in relation to Anna. Maybe if I’d had a genealogy chart.
So this wasn’t my favorite Ghibli film (that’s probably still Princess Mononoke), but if this is the studio’s last effort, they are going out in style. 7/10.