My Neighbour Totoro
Directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki
In 2005 Disney translated and dubbed this movie and the Western world was introduced to something amazing. Some of my friends had seen Nausicaa before this, and I know I’d seen Princess Mononoke but I also knew that this was a very different sort of movie so I had no idea what to expect. Suffice to say I was delighted.
To me the most amazing thing about this film is that it’s a story with no villain, which is very unusual when it comes to children’s animated moves. When I was a kid my favourite movies were the Care Bear movies and the Henson films, Labyrinth and Dark Crystal which are full of villains. The whole plot is about good guys overcoming bad, but Totoro is just a magic tale about family conflict and confused and sad children.
I have to say, Mei’s personality and emotions pull on all my youngest child, younger sister feels. Hayao does a good job of showing her trying so hard to keep up with Satsuke, being scared but refusing to be anything but brave. It’s so familiar and so very real. It’s beautiful.
Then of course, Mei finds Totoro and if there was every a friendlier, softer looking gigantic mystical troll thing then I don’t think I’ve seen it. And the little rabbit like baby Totoro minor spirits are so cute! It’s just so appealing in so many ways.
The neko basu (cat bus) is both disturbing and appealing and I love that about it. The multiple legs are creepy like a centipede and the noise is makes is unsettling, but it’s so friendly that you just like it anyway. The inside looks so plush and soft too.
Does it make me love the people? It makes me love all the characters and the world too. It’s a gorgeous film for capturing the magic in the world around us, the pure wonder that children hold for the world. The joy of discovery and taking delight in what we see.
Bechdel test: Yes, Mei and Satsuke talk about all sorts of things and almost never boys! Also Satsuke talks to Nanny, which.. may or may not be a real name actually. But she is a very important character to the story so I’d count her, especially since the movie passes anyway.
Tatsuo Kusakabe: Trees and people used to be good friends. I saw that tree and decided to buy the house. Hope Mom likes it too. Okay, let’s pay our respects then get home for lunch.
State of Mind: The gentle environmental message is wonderful because unlike so many other movies where it hits you over the head, this movie just makes you love the forest, growing plants and living in peace with nature. I adore this film, I don’t ever seem to get sick of it. So beautiful and so peaceful.
Plus I’m clearly a fan, I have a soot ball, a little snoring Totoro and a Totoro onesie so … I do love this film.
This is my 100th posted blog review of a 500 list movie! I wanted it to be a movie I knew I loved 🙂
Watched movie count