My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro ★★★★½

Miyazaki is my default when I’m depressed, and considering the Studio Ghibli marathon I’ve been on this week, I guess it goes without saying that I’ve been having a pretty rough go of it lately. Thankfully, My Neighbor Totoro allows me to go frolic in fields with my friends without a care in the world.

A movie like My Neighbor Totoro makes ranking Miyazaki’s work (which I’m attempting to do here) nearly impossible. This movie exists on the smallest of small scales and you can make a sound argument for there being no real conflict or over-arching plot to speak of. Compared to the massive conflicts in Nausicaa and Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro is so micro, taking place in a single house and following two sisters as they make friends with the local woodland creatures…. And that’s basically it. Which is why I love it.

While the fantastical creatures like Totoro and Catbus are beloved global sensations at this point, my favorite aspect of this movie is easily the relationship between the two sisters. I don’t think there’s another story out there that captures the bond between two young sisters as well as this film. The way they look out for each other, the way the little sister watches her older sibling’s actions closely and mimics her every move, it’s all so completely perfectly realized.

Gosh I’m glad this movie exists 🥰