Hiromasa Yonebayashi (2010)

U Certificate


Our Score
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.


A family of tiny people lives beneath the floorboards of a Tokyo house, scavenging from the human occupants and carefully maintaining an invisible profile. However, when their daughter is spotted by a boy staying there, the friendship that develops raises the dangerous possibility of other humans finding out about them. Animated fantasy based on The Borrowers, with the voices of Saoirse Ronan and Tom Holland.

Cast & Crew

Arrietty Clock Saoirse Ronan
Sho Tom Holland
Pod Clock Mark Strong
Homily Clock Olivia Colman
Sadako Phyllida Law
Haru Geraldine McEwan
Spiller Luke Allen-Gale
Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Director Gary Rydstrom
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Other Information

Language: Japanese, dubbedColourTheatrical distributor: Optimum ReleasingAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 29 Jul 2011