Here's another Ghibli title that went up for a Best Animated Picture Oscar, this time losing to the likes of 'Inside Out' (which, in my humble opinion, was frankly the better film anyway, this time around). But, as usual, that's not to say that this was a bad film at all. Speaking for myself, it just kinda ends up in that all around forgettable category.
This time around, we're introduced to a preteen girl named Anna Sasaki (Sara Takatsuki/Hailee Steinfeld) who is going through all sorts of horrible depression, as well as suffering from bad asthma. She's therefore sent to the countryside to live with her Auntie in the fresh ocean air.
While still going through her personal problems, Anna meets and befriends a very sweet girl around the same age named Marnie (Kasumi Arimura/Kiernan Shipka). She manages to be the perfect friendship that Anna has been seeking this whole time, allowing her to open up like never before, however the catch is that Marnie may not even be real.
This one, at least to me, covers the angst of what its like to get into that confusing stage known as puberty quite well. The only issue I have with it is that Anna is almost a little too angsty for the overall enjoyment of her character. She's relatable to those going through similar issues, but one has to admit there are moments that she just acts like a straight up ungrateful brat.
The film otherwise looks quite lovely and has a fairly intriguing, if not relatively predictable storyline. However I found this time around that the characters lacked a bit more than usual. Our two mains are almost polarizing extremes to the point that they're almost unlikable. Anna is just stubborn and often irritating, but Marnie is sweet enough that she's almost a bit creepy. That said, perhaps that's kinda what they were going through here - an almost perfect Yin and Yang to make such a strong friendship.
One might ask oneself if this movie has some leaning towards potential homosexuality with its undertones as well. There are moments that left me wondering if they were going for something that strong. I'd have to say that it's something one would have to judge for oneself though. To me, perhaps a little, but it's not about that so much as the bond formed as a whole between Anna and Marnie.
It's perfectly decent for what it is, but it I have to admit that as someone who suffers from certain things, myself, including some depression, a lot of it kinda hits almost too close to home. That said, I CAN say that one could follow Marnie's example when it comes to dealing with people who have depression. The idea is that Marnie's there for her when she's needed (hence the title) no matter how brutal things get. It's sweet, but it can be a little hard to get through.
As anime is an all-around untapped resource for my viewing pleasure, I have decided to explore the Ghibli titles, one-by-one. It seemed good a place to start as any. I'll be focusing on these titles throughout the month of August.