This is the Ghibli version of Mary Norton's award-winning 1952 book, "The Borrowers," which deals with the adventures and misadventures of tiny people living "below the radar" of normal-sized humans. Studio Ghibli's treatment has quite successfully updated the story from the book's quasi-Edwardian setting to the modern day, and moved it from the specifically English setting to a non-specific but gorgeously realized setting.
The plot is simple; the Borrowers are discovered by a young boy (Sean, English voice by David Henrie)whose attempts to learn more about the little people and to cultivate a friendship with the girl Borrower, Arietty (Bridgit Mendler), lead to discovery by others whose intentions are not benign, and trouble ensues. The pleasure of the movie is in the character interactions, and in the marvelous settings conceived by the animators. On the one hand, the internal world of the Borrowers, inside walls and under floors, is cleverly done and in its way, believable. The humans' house is a lovely construct, with its combination of European and Japanese features. The outside world, with its wild garden of flowers, is just beautiful, despite its dangers.
Adventurous Arietty and curious Sean ("The Boy", for much of Norton's book) are quite true to the original text, as is Homily (Amy Pohler), Arrietty's rather hysteric and agoraphobic mother. I think that the character of father Pod (Will Arnett), monosyllabic and workmanlike, is rather an improvement on the Micawberesque father-figure in Norton, partly because the film adaptation's emphasis is more on adventure than on humor.
A charming film,recommended for all ages.
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