Samuel’s review published on Letterboxd:
I really didn't think I'd get out of this slump before the day was through but I was essentially saved by this animation.
Often aimless in it's story but always joyous in wherever they took it. My Neighbour Totoro is exactly what I needed after today. Miyazaki's playful and unending imagination amazes me yet again. No consequences, no perilous tendencies, just the lure of adventure and a big. fluffy bear... Thing..
Tatsuo: "Trees and people used to be good friends."
Miyazaki's frustration in people clearly emanates into the writing. I feel that the sincere overtones in the film shine through in the visuals more than anything else though. So much of the summer soaked countryside of Japan is highlighted that I almost feel Hayao's aching heart through the screen. There is so much love in his design it hurts.
I think writers block is always something that crops up in every piece I write but I think the admiration I have for this film alone has stumped me more than I'd care to admit. I was completely swallowed up by this adventure from beginning to end and I feel that it speaks to the films qualities more than anything else here. Pacing issues aside, It's just an incredibly delightful piece of animation that flows through the emotions the further it goes and they absolutely nail them even when they're oh so subtle. The last 5 minutes are what encapsulates those emotions and fires them off all at once in a great finale.
The forest spirits and their back story are yet another surge of creativity I never expected to see. I loved all of it. The music too? Yeah, amazing. Every second.
Netflix has given us a boat load of these potentially amazing stories and I seriously can't wait to go deeper into these worlds that are filled with so much wonder and detail. Amazing stuff. Yet again