My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro ★★★★★

Miyazaki’s fourth feature trades the high-stakes fantasy adventure of his previous films for a grounded coming-of-age narrative. It’s a celebration of youthful innocence that feels like a nostalgic memory. Few movies so effortlessly capture the feeling of childhood — long passages of carefree exploration and boundless imagination are punctuated by occasional bursts of existential hysteria and irrational paranoia. The film puts conflict on the back-burner for the majority of its runtime, inviting us to sink into its beautifully-animated environments and appreciate their quiet delights. I want to give this movie a hug.

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