My Neighbor Totoro ★★★★½

My daughter recently turned 4. This, in her mind, is a very big achievement. She sees herself as a “big girl” now and will allow herself to tackle all the “big girl films” she previously dismissed (for three blissful years, she turned down any offers to watch Frozen because that was a Big Girl Film but she is 4 and so now it is on solid rotation in our house). As a result of this, we watched My Neighbour Totoro together and it was a joy to watch her watch the film. Unselfconscious reactions. Pure id. It was so different to all the Disney and Dreamworks films she’s used to, so she didn’t have built-in conditions for how to react to things. Why are these girls just screaming at a dark room? Is this scary? Or is it thrilling? Her eyes were so wide, they could have swallowed me whole. And - no kidding - she screamed with joy when she saw the catbus for the first time.

After the film was over, she asked if we could watch it again. “Sure”, I said, “but what if we watch this other film, Kiki’s Delivery Service, first?” “Okay!”

I’m very sad my tiny baby is growing up so fast, but when we can sit and watch Ghibli films together like this, maybe it’s not so bad.