Viewed at Film Forum Junior.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
My Neighbor Totoro opens with a doting, bookish father transplanting himself and his two adorable girls, roly-poly Mei (the curious, courageous) and svelte Satsuki (the conscientious and dutiful), to a verdant farming village. They are moving to bring the family nearer to their mother, who is bedridden in a neighboring hospice gracefully enduring an unnamed malady.
The house they move into has been shut tight against the elements. A traditional Japanese dwelling with sliding panel walls and doors, they playfully…
Giving the many favorable invocations of Demy, I was eagerly anticipating La La Land's breathtaking opening sequence and a heartrending bittersweet ending. But I really wasn't satisfied by either. The opening's cinematographic choreography was engaging enough, but the dance choreography seemed more like jumbled group parkour exercise than Hollywood musical showcase.
Umbrellas of Cherbourg and West Side Story set the standard for bittersweet musicals in my book. In those films the gritty real world tragically transforms the characters-- even the…