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I've had the great pleasure of seeing "When Marnie was There" and "Inside Out" in these past few weeks, and I'm convinced that they would make an excellent double feature. Both of them feature female protagonists who are on the cusp of puberty and maturity, and both movies come at the issues that puberty brings, but from completely different angles. "Inside Out" is a lot more action-filled and a good deal louder than "Marnie" but really, one is the flip side of the other, as they're both meditations on what growing up means and how we deal with adversity.

"When Marnie was There" is a lovely entry into the Studio Ghibli canon. The story focuses on Anna, a 12-year-old asthmatic adoptee whose internal life is filled with turmoil and loathing. Worried for her health and mental state, her adopted mother sends her to spend the summer with relatives who live in the country, and leave her to her own devices, although they do meddle as they try to set her up on a "friend date" with some local girls that, predictably, turns sour. Left alone, Anna finds herself talking to the lonely girl who lives in the deserted house across the tidal marsh, Marnie. But Marnie comes and goes without warning, and her stories of her life (all rendered in gorgeous attention to detail and period, as expected from a Ghibli film) sound off, somehow. I don't want to spoil the ending, and so I'll stop summarizing the plot here, and shift over to discussing how richly everything in this story is rendered: the colors! The emotions! The textures! (The textures alone are worth the price of admission; I could imagine the feel of almost everything in that movie under my fingers as it went along.) What's really gorgeous about this movie is the love that is packed into every aspect of the production. It has a soul, a rich, empathetic soul that serves all the characters with equal measures of respect. I wish that I had seen this movie when I was a depressed adolescent tween, because I think it would have healed my soul in return for viewing it (although I would never, ever have admitted that to anyone.)

"Inside Out" is a little more accessible to all ages than "Marnie" (which definitely requires an attention span and patience to fully enjoy) but it's really all about the same difficulties of growing up and accepting parts of ourselves. You've probably seen the trailers and know that this is a movie about the voices in a tween protagonist's head as she copes with a great deal of life changes (moving, new school, parental strife, etc.) What I'm pleased to say about this is that it's not the gender essentialist nonsense that I feared from the first few trailers I saw, and that the imagination that fuels this movie is electric and boundless and beautiful. It treats its protagonist's mental crisis with the same gravity that "Marnie" does, and we see the solution from the internal side, rather than the external one. Again, I don't want to spoil anything, but I can say that the mental landscape this movie lays out is absolutely perfect, and very well observed. This is a movie that I wouldn't mind seeing in theaters again at all, because I'm sure there were a million things or so that I missed. "Inside Out" is the best Pixar movie I've seen... well, maybe ever, although nothing will beat the first ten minutes of "Up" or that sequence in "Toy Story 3" for making me cry. It's absolutely worth seeing on the big screen. I don't want to oversell it, so please just go and see it. (And then come back and talk to me about it, because I have some stuff I want to run by you.)

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
foreverinasmile
Jun. 23rd, 2015 01:39 am (UTC)
Saw Inside Out this weekend, and hands down, it's the best Pixar movie ever. I absolutely loved it!
retsuko
Jun. 23rd, 2015 04:12 am (UTC)
I wish I could have seen it with you. What did C and C think of it?
foreverinasmile
Jun. 24th, 2015 10:01 pm (UTC)
They loved it. My emotional first born predictably climbed in his Dad's lap and cried at the appropriate times, but he came away liking it. Did you take R to see it? My little one thought it was great!
retsuko
Jun. 25th, 2015 01:47 am (UTC)
We haven't taken R to any movies yet. He hasn't started having the attention span until recently, and I'm worried that the whole thing will be a little overwhelming. But the Shaun the Sheep movie is coming this summer, and we may try that as his first one! :)

ETA: how did you explain the death of the imaginary friend?

Edited at 2015-06-25 01:48 am (UTC)
foreverinasmile
Jun. 25th, 2015 01:59 am (UTC)
He was more upset by Joy crying than anything else. We just explained that if Joy can cry because she's sad, then Sadness can laugh and be happy. We talked about Bing Bong like we do any death that he encounters (which, sadly, is in almost every Disney movie we've watched). We try to get him to focus on the things that he liked about Bing Bong instead of the things that made him sad. Luckily, he enjoyed so much more of this movie that he was able to focus on more of the things that he liked. This was not the case when we saw Tomorrowland, which he declared awful and that he'd never see it again.
retsuko
Jun. 25th, 2015 03:14 am (UTC)
Yup, this is why I've held off on most Disney films.

I thought it was such a sophisticated story for a children's movie, and the idea that Joy can experience sadness (as you explained it) is a really important one, one that most movies won't touch. I'm certainly glad he enjoyed the rest of it so much, though. :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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