When Marnie was there is an anime movie about a young girl named Anna and her friendship with the mysterious Marnie. Anna is a withdrawn and depressed child who goes to stay with her aunty in the countryside. Anna’s mother hopes that the fresh country air would be good for her spirit as well as her health as she has asthma.The movie is based on a book of the same name by author, Joan G. Robinson.
While exploring the neighborhood, Anna is drawn towards a mansion by the lake. The mansion appears to have been deserted for several years. However, Anna notices that mansion appears to be occupied at night and in a better state. Anna goes to the mansion again in the next day but the mansion looks empty and abandoned. The townspeople tell her nobody has lived at the house for years.
One night, Anna goes to the mansion and meets Marnie. Marnie says she has lived at the mansion ever since she was born. Her parents are often away and she is looked after by her nanny. Anna and Marnie become friends and spend many days playing and exploring the countryside. The girls’ play dates always end with Anna falling asleep and Marnie disappearing. Anna wonders whether Marnie is real.
I found the movie to be enchanting and I loved the mysterious atmosphere. While I was watching the movie, I was trying to figure out if Marnie was a ghost, an imaginary friend or if there were some magical barrier where past and future crossed. The mystery is solved in the movie but I won’t reveal it in this post. Something I will hint at is that, I thought Anna’s secret which caused her anguish was no big deal. I can understand how it would stress a child though.
I hadn’t watched an anime in years and I thought it was a refreshing experience. What I like about anime is the mature storytelling which I think makes it more appealing to a wider audience. I thought the animation was beautiful and I could picture the movie as a live action film.
I watched the movie in Japanese with English subtitles. I wonder about the little differences in the translation and wouldn’t mind seeing it in an English dub as well. The English version has many famous people doing the voice acting such as Kathy Bates and Hailee Steinfeld. The movie was produced by Studio Ghibli which is likened to Disney for the quality of animation and popularity. This movie will be their last movie for the time being as they are going on a hiatus.