• U
  • Hiromasa Yonebayashi (2010)
  • Jpn
  • 90 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Mary Norton's novel The Borrowers gets a Japanese makeover from the Studio Ghibli animation house in a film that is showing subtitled for Japanese anime fans, and dubbed for family audiences. Either way, it's a solidly entertaining watch, with beautifully detailed animation depicting a country house outside Tokyo whose cellar hosts a trio of "little people" surviving on scraps secretly filched from the "human beans" living above. It's essentially a coming-of-age story, as Arrietty (voiced by Saoirse Ronan), the borrowers' only child, goes on her first foraging mission, forges an unlikely friendship with the sickly teenage boy recuperating upstairs, and faces an uncertain future without any pint-sized playmates. For those weaned on the action highlights and wisecracks of Hollywood fare, this will seem mild-mannered indeed, yet the storytelling really draws us into the emotional world of these vulnerable tiny folk in a way that will captivate curious younger viewers. On this occasion, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, directing his first feature, takes over from Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki, and if the result lacks the imaginative verve of, say, Spirited Away, its gentle charm offers ample compensation.

Plot Summary

Animated fantasy adventure with the voices of Saoirse Ronan and Tom Holland. When young Sho is sent to his mother's family estate to rest, he meets Arrietty, one of a miniature family that lives under the floorboards of the house. But these "Borrowers" keep their existence a secret, and Sho and Arrietty's friendship puts her in danger.

Cast and crew


Saoirse Ronan
Tom Holland (2)
Mark Strong
Olivia Colman
Geraldine McEwan
Phyllida Law
Luke Allen-Gale


Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Other Information

Japanese, dubbed
Theatrical distributor: 
Optimum Releasing
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 29 Jul 2011
Certificate U

Add new comment

Ads by Google