My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro ★★★★½

My sister was already making fun of me for all the loud screaming and cartoonish squeals from watching Avatar in the living room. Imagine her annoyance when I watched this movie starring a giggling, wailing toddler.

I loved this. Maybe not my personal vibe nearly as much as something like Kiki’s Delivery Service, but it’s still delightful. If I was most surprised by anything, it was the way the film blends this childish innocence with a genuinely terrifying surrealist horror element. The vague mysticism and creep factor was balanced by the colorful whimsy beautifully. It’s the only Ghibli movie I’ve watched which has a somewhat understandable Disney counterpart: Alice in Wonderland. I adore the surrealism and insane animation of Alice, but I think the difference is that this movie is far more grounded in relatable sibling dynamics and parenthood. So much is done with so little. It’s exactly the kind of subtle, deceptively simple filmmaking I adore.

Houston liked these reviews