Secret World of Arrietty, The
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +4

Directed by Hiromasa Yonebagashi. Main Actors: Will Arnett, Bridgett Mendler, Amy Poehler, David Henrie, Carol Burnett.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Based on a novel, The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, this animated version introduces us to a family of little people four inches tall who live secretly beneath the floorboards of a home. Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler), a 14-year-old, accompanies her father (voice of Will Arnett) to gather some much needed supplies from the house. Thus begins a series of adventures as Arrietty befriends lonely Shawn (voice of David Henrie), who is recovering from a heart condition. Delighted to discover the charming girl long hidden beneath the house, Shawn tries to protect her when her family is exposed by a wicked housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett).

PREVIEW REVIEW: It has been a while since this reviewer has seen a “G” rated movie that is more than a beautifully animated, gentle story that young children can enjoy without being frightened. Arrietty’s father trusts her to learn how to “borrow” from the family upstairs by taking only what they need, such as one sugar cube or one square of tissue. To them, of course, one sugar cube provides enough sugar for weeks. The little people have a strict code of rules to live by, caring for family, respecting others and sharing responsibility. When Arrietty becomes friends with Shawn, she learns he has given up hope of getting well. Breaking rules of contact with outsiders, she gives the frail boy hope and encourages him to look forward to a bright future. There are a few tense moments when the villainous housekeeper discovers Arrietty’s mother and traps her, but there’s no physical harm.

Those who have enjoyed reading The Borrowers will find this beautiful Japanese production a wonderful reminder of the value of children’s literature. Books and movies like this create some vivid memories youngsters can share with friends and those who follow in their footsteps many years later.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: None, but girl chased and captured; no physical harm
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Family values stressed; teenager accepts responsibility helping rescue her mother; respect for authority and each other
Running Time: 94 minutes
Intended Audience: Families

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