My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro ★★★★★

Master Miyazaki has made many movies where relatively younger protagonists, mostly female, are put up against something that they need to fulfill, experience, learn from and grow up. This is a very simple movie which has two young daughters of a professor in the postwar rural Japan, moving into an old house so that they can be near to hospital where their mother is recovering from some unnamed illness. There are some friendly wood spirits in that area who interacts with the youngest daughter without any harm. It still puzzles me how such a simple premise can give you one of the most extraordinary experiences of your life. My Neighbor Totoro is not sentimental, neither is it too cheery or campy. Subtlety and smoothness is felt throughout. It makes you smile (which is for the most part, even after the movie ends), it makes you cry as well.

My Neighbor Totoro lacks a big plot, not much really happens if you look at it. There is nothing too complicated about it. What this movie does is evoke feelings in you, it is based on feelings. This movie to me is never boring or slow, it is a fascinating look at innocence and childhood. Visually, My Neighbor Totoro is beautiful. The warmth and spellbinding natural and spiritual feeling in those beautifully drawn images of trees and village are magnificent. There are some of the most memorable moments that happens in the movie. If you just talk about one memorable image, than for me that would be the sisters and Totoro waiting at the bus stop while it is raining. That very moment is so surreal, sensory, melancholic and beautiful that it cannot really be reduced down to mere words. The whimsical inclusion of beautiful characters makes you happy and presents vision of a playful imaginative mind of children. The emotional undercurrent via 'life' and troubles that it has, keeps it as much grounded in reality as fantasy sets it fly. It is simple, it is beautiful, it is peaceful and it is something everyone should experience no matter what age.

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