When Marnie Was There


(spoiler free)

Whilst Studio Ghibli’s ‘When Marnie Was There’ was released back in 2014 it hasn’t been until now that the UK has got a cinema release of the Japanese anime film. Believe it or not but this film is actually my first experience of Studio Ghibli, I’ve always wanted to see their films but their accessibility isn’t as good as it could be. I made sure that when I saw this film was getting a limited release I would definitely check it out.

What strikes you first will be the beautiful animation, I really am a fan of the anime look in general but ‘When Marine Was There’ has taken this to the next level creating some stunning scenes. The score that accompanies the film complements the animation wonderfully and both combine together to making a really calming and relaxing environment for the audience to watch the film in. The film wastes no time in getting stuck into the story with us learning a lot about the central character, Anna, in the very first scene and transporting us to the main setting where the narrative takes place shortly after. The film progresses nicely from this with the introduction of new characters, further character development and some humour included. All of this makes for an enjoyable watch and fans of Japanese culture will be entertained even more as they can take in all the aspects of this culture that are included in the film.

After the narrative properly establishes itself and when the film is firmly in its middle section, things do unfortunately become a little repetitive. The narrative seems to go over the same sequences again and again and it does become a bit frustrating. With the inclusion of dreams on several occasions it can also be hard to remember what is happening and what Anna is dreaming. The film holds back much of the crucial information that the audience needs to fully appreciate the narrative, whilst some may like this I didn’t. This was the main source of the frustration that I experienced as instead of being intrigued by what I didn’t know I increasingly became impatient. Thankfully answers do come and the ending to the film probably does make up for the repetitive middle section and any frustration caused. In what is quite a short sequence the film manages to fully draw its audience  back in. The conclusion to the film is very emotionally charged and will provoke a range of feelings but it ties the narrative together very well making the film feel more of a whole.

‘When Marnie Was There’ was a great first experience of Studio Ghibli and it certainly won’t be my last. The animation and score combined together in a wonderful way and make the initial moments a joy to watch. The narrative is good but encounters problems in its middle section being rather repetitive. However, this is quickly forgotten as the powerful ending will engage audiences more so than at any other time of the film.

Rating – 7.5/10

Question: What is your favourite Studio Ghibli film?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)

Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.



5 thoughts on “When Marnie Was There

  1. Super reasonable review. I personally loved the dream-like feel of the middle section, I thought that perfectly captured the struggle and difficulty Anna was having with her depression; a sense that what you think you understand might not really be there. That said, I totally get where you’re coming from, it definitely feels like a preference thing.
    Was my first full experience of a Ghibli film as well, so what an exciting road we have ahead of us!

    • I may enjoy this mid section more with a re-watch as I now know what to expect. Haha no way, I don’t know how I’ve managed to avoid Ghibli up until now, I’m dying to get stuck into the rest of their work. We were totally at the same screening too haha #QFT

      • Holy shit you’re from Belfast!? Am I mad!? How did I not know this before following you!? Brilliant! #QFT
        Yeah, I’m the same, probably because the cinemas here almost never show it. QFT is doing a Ghibli-marathon for the next while though, hope to dip in and out of that!

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