Does anyone else find themselves fighting back tears of anticipation in their theater seat whenever the sneak previews end and this fades onto the screen?

It’s been almost two weeks since I saw The Secret World of Arrietty at my favorite local multiplex, which was every bit the thoroughly enjoyable moviegoing experience I’d hoped it would be. I loved it so much that I honestly planned on seeing it again while on spring break this week but like I sort of expected, the week has come and gone, I barely got myself out of the house at all and the film has pretty much disappeared as of today (gotta make room for this, I guess).

I don’t want to try to review the film or rehash its plot. It came out in Japan almost two years ago and is based off of books that every kid has been reading since the 50s, so you probably know what it’s about, more or less. As expected, it was a beautiful movie filled with wonderful visuals and a very relaxing atmosphere. There’s plenty of drama and perilous situations but there’s never much doubt how it’s going to turn out, so it’s easy to relax and get lost in. (What I’m trying to say is that this definitely isn’t what you’d get from a Disney or Pixar movie. Those can get stressful!) I don’t even know if it’s the specific level of conflict that the characters face so much as their rather even-keeled response to it that makes Arrietty (and most Ghibli films) so consistently mellow (and in the increasingly loud world of film and television, so unique).

I wanted to write about this topic (the quiet tone of these films, particularly compared to other animated features in the preceding previews) right after seeing the film but waffled for a few days and then saw that Yumeka had pretty much covered the topic better than I could anyway. Go read her thoughts about it now, if you haven’t already. Why are our children’s films so insistent upon shouting at their audience? I don’t think there’s an easy answer. Fortunately, viewers seem finally to be “getting it,” as Arrietty now boasts the the widest release and biggest US gross for a Ghibli film to date. Er, at least a few more of us are, anyway. The audience in our weekday afternoon screening was comprised of us, another young couple, and a father with his two year-old daughter. She got pretty fussy down the stretch and he had to take her out once or twice, but I’ve seen much worse, and I’m sure I wasn’t much better behaved at that age. “This was her first movie,” he told us after the show. I wish I would have told him that he picked a good one to start her off with. Sticking her in front of a Dreamworks or Illumination film at that age would probably set a terrible precedent for what she’d be capable of enjoying in the future, IMHO.

Not really sure what this comment is referring to or if we actually saw the same movie. Anyone?