What is it?
The 2014 Japanese animated (anime) drama movie When Marnie Was There (Omoide No Mānī) that was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and was produced by Studio Ghibli.
What is it about?
This is how Rotten Tomatoes describes this anime (animated) movie:
Sent from her foster home in the city one summer to a sleepy town by the sea in Hokkaido, Anna dreams her days away among the marshes.
She believes she’s outside the invisible magic circle to which most people belong – and shuts herself off from everyone around her, wearing her “ordinary face”.
Anna never expected to meet a friend like Marnie, who does not judge Anna for being just what she is.
But no sooner has Anna learned the loveliness of friendship than she begins to wonder about her newfound friend…
Based on the novel by Joan G. Robinson, When Marnie Was There is the newest film from Studio Ghibli, and the second feature film by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the director of The Secret World of Arrietty.
After watching Chris Stuckmann’s review of When Marnie Was There called When Marnie Was There – Movie Review I eventually decided to what this film in December 2015, and my brother GC and I watched it.
I probably did not expect to like this film before I watched it, but the ending of When Marnie Was There connected with me.
I connected with me so emotionally and personally that I had to stop myself from crying until no one was around to hear or see me cry.
Once I was alone I started crying like a baby or as my former schoolmate / collegemate Bank (SJ) once said after he watched the film The Passion Of The Christ: “I cried like a man.”.
It was and still is the most that I have cried in years, and maybe the most that I have cried from watching an animated film since maybe the Japanese animated (anime) film Grave Of The Fireflies.
Even several days after watching When Marnie Was There, I would start to cry or almost cry if I heard the film’s theme song Fine On The Outside by the musician Priscilla Ahn:
This is what I had to say about When Marnie Was There back in 2015 the day after I watched it:
Last night, my brother GC and I watched a Japanese anime film called When Marnie Was There.
This anime movie had good visuals / animation and good sounds and music, and a more realistic feel / tone to it that is usually missing from popular cartoons / animations.
So you could almost forget that it was an animation, but it is a film with some problems.
It is a film that you have to watch at a certain time in a certain environment to enjoy it more.
Or you will enjoy it more if it manages to connect with you personally / emotionally, or else you might find it boring and too slow and unnecessary and awkward / strange and confusing at times.
Because some parts of the film and the trailer for the film can be easily misunderstood and misinterpreted at times, and because of some of the flaws in / issues with the film.
My brother GC probably did not like the film as much as I did, and he started zoning out & doing something else as he watched the film.
I had some issues with the film as well, and I did not like certain things in the film like: how they jumped around sometimes leaving you confused, how certain things were not explained, and how they handled some of the relationships in a way that could easily be misunderstood and / or that could be seen as awkward and strange.
The film managed to keep my attention just enough as I tried to figure out the mystery, thanks to: the visuals, audio, the more realistic tone & situations that can make you forget that it is animated, and I was a bit surprised at the end.
I had to hold back some tears during the film and after watching the film my brother GC went outside.
The film reminded me of some things from my own life.
I do not want to reveal what exactly because it would ruin the ending of the film.
It made me think about what if something like this happened in real life and what would it be like.
This connected with me personally / emotionally, partly because of the use of dreams in this film, and my own interest in dreams.
I actually started crying as I was thinking about the film, which is super rare for me to ever cry.
I sometimes go years without ever crying, and only a few people have ever seen or heard me cry.
Furthermore, I held a lot of it back to avoid anyone knowing or hearing that I was somewhat crying.
So I did not let it all out, and so some of it is still with me today.
I think that When Marnie Was There is worth watching at least once.
Just make sure that you watch it during a time when you are in the mood for a film like this, when you are ready to focus / try to make sense of some parts of it, and when you are ready to cry.
- John Jr