My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro ★★★★★

“You're such a baby! Just grow up!”

The animation in Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro) is stunningly beautiful in its scenery and coloring, but most of all it comes of as very grounded. This perfectly frames this story, whose two young characters captures the energetic, beautiful innocence of childhood and with a sprawling sibling-love. The calm pace is also very pleasant; the new house hints of something frightening yet unpredictable and what Hayao Miyazaki does so well here is letting this darkness have its fittingly slow introduction in the film.

So slowly we get to know these characters and attach our own nostalgic traces to them and follow them into the gradual introduction to the supernatural. The adorable mysticism of Totoro himself slips fittingly into the narrative and together with him, Miyazaki leads us into a beautiful darkness to fit the very much real events surrounding the main characters. It’s simply a brilliant exercise in how to gracefully walk that thin tightrope tied up between the innocent fun and tough, dark reality — both equally essential parts of growing up.

Hayao Miyazaki
The Cult Movie Challenge

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