My Neighbour Totoro

Kiki is more sophisticated, and Laputa more thrilling, but this wins because the relationship between the two siblings is JUST. SO. REAL. It's astounding. Miyazaki knows childhood back to front. He can capture it, distill it, and draw us a film that can take us back to when we were children. A master at work, ladies and gentlemen...

I don't know whether it's just me, but I got a whole heap of references out of the film. Most obviously, the line about the trees no longer being our friends recalls the Ents in The Two Towers. More broadly, the set-up is straight out of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Indeed, at the Stone Table Susan and Lucy deal with berevement before having their hope restored. Satsuki and Mei go on the same journey. Finally, what is Totoro if not a bear-shaped Mary Poppins, complete with umbrella? Like the flying nanny, he shows the kids in his care what a magical world they live in. So you have environmentalism, growing up, and child-like wonder all rolled into one. A great way to spend 80 minutes.

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