"When Marnie was there" is originally written as a story for children by Joan Gale Robinson. Recently, Studio Ghibli published an animation cinema movie from it. I watched this work a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately, I have not read the original story. In this movie, the heroine was Anna, a Japanese girl. As an adopted daughter, she had some troubles in the relationship with her foster mother. The main reason why she became to be annoyed in her foster mother is described in later scenes. For a treatment of her asthma, she was left to her relatives who lived in a rural area.
Adoption is relatively rare in Japan, compared to Western countries. It is possible for adopted children to be bullied by classmates about this matter. It is understandable that she often felt alone. The director well installed Japanese cultural background into the story.
In this village, she met a strange foreign girl. The girl lived in a house which looked abandoned long time ago. She soon got the girl be a friend, and they enjoyed precious time. The scenes describing their communication were fantastic.
However, the girl, named Marnie disappeared all at sudden. Anna guessed that Marnie betrayed her. She was so hurt. Finally, she was told by an old lady about the history of Marnie's house. The content was extremely astonishing. She finally understood the true color of Marnie and her intention.
I dare not reveal the truth. It is a fantastic story. To be honest, this sort of plot is commonly used. Indeed, I watched another movie in which similar story was inserted very recently. So, I do not think this story is so amazing.
The personality of Anna is hardly understandable. Although she is not a bad girl, she sometimes ridicules others. Is it her nature or not? There is a certain reason why she could get along with Marnie. Nonetheless, her attitude against Marnie looked too friendly compared with other patterns of her behaviors.
Actually, she got angered to know that her foster mother was given money for compensation of accepting her as an adopted child. Why was she angry for this? Did she believe that her foster mother had been taking care of her only for money?
At the last scene, her foster mother apologized to her for hiding this fact. She said, "Even if I had not been given money, I would have accepted you." I think that this sentence is problematic, for the internal meaning of this comment is that, foster parents must love the adopted child without money, and they should not take money. It is a quite childish dogma. Taking care of children is a very tough task. But Japanese mothers are considerably underestimated in their work. I feel this scene symbolize a traditional, and now irrational value in Japan.
To sum up, I do not like this movie, although the picture was extremely beautiful.
There is a rumor that Studio Ghibli is going to be closed, according to newly reports. It is regrettable if Marnie would be the last heroine created by Ghibli.
ComingSoon.net: UPDATE: Studio Ghibli to Shut Down Operations?
Personal Rating: 2 (poor)