My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro ★★★★★

I saw this as a wee lad and would have nightmares over Totoro. Despite some fond memories of the movie overall, a fear of the darker moments had found its way lodged into my infant psyche, colouring my feelings all these years towards one of dread.

I revisited today, some 10 years later and discovered an all-new fear. A haunting hang-up at the thought of losing a loved one.

It's sad, yes, but I think it speaks levels to Miyazaki's power. His ability to connect with and impact both kids and adults to such an extreme level is no small feat, and is surely one of the reasons he's become the universally loved phenomenon that is 'Hayao Miyazaki.'

And yet, the film's not even as sad as I'm making it out to be. The approach taken to the complex themes and material is so respectful. So calm and idyllic and innocent, that it's hard not to watch it with a big smile slapped across your face. Feels like a sucker-punch to the heart, but with the softest, most kindest hands possible. Somber, but every bit as soothing.

A nice, oft-needed reminder that yes, everything will be okay. But also, that it's perfectly fine to feel sad too.

Perfect? I think so.

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