When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー, Omoide no Ma-ni-, lit. Memories of Marnie) is a 2014 Japanese anime film written and directed by Yonebayashi Hiromasa (米林 宏昌), produced by Studio Ghibli, and based on the novel When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson. It was the final film for Studio Ghibli, before they announced that its division took a short hiatus after The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, and the retirement of Miyazaki Hayao a year before the film was released. The film was released in theatres on 19 July 2014. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 88th Academy Awards.
Sasaki Anna is a 12-year-old girl who lives in Sapporo with her foster parents, Yoriko and her husband. One day at school she collapses from an asthma attack, so her parents send her to spend the summer with relatives of Yoriko, in Kushiro, a rural, seaside town where the air is clear.
Anna sees an abandoned mansion, dilapidated and overgrown, across a seaside marsh and wades across the marsh to investigate it. She looks around, wondering why it seems so familiar to her, but gets trapped there by the rising tide. Toichi, a taciturn old fisherman, rescues her with his rowboat. On the way back across the water, Anna sees the house for a moment in good repair and well-lit. When she returns home, her relatives tell her that the mansion used to be a vacation home for some foreigners, but that it has been empty for a long time. That night and on other nights, Anna has a dream of seeing a blond girl in the mansion, having her hair brushed by an old woman.
On the night of the Tanabata festival, Anna discovers a rowboat by the shore and rows it across the marsh to the mansion, where she meets Marnie, the blond girl. Anna tells Marnie about her dreams, but Marnie assures Anna that she is not dreaming now. The two agree to keep their meeting secret, and they meet again on several evenings.
And that’s all for the spoiling!
I went to watch this one at the cinema a short while after it was released. It was really great and it made me remind about a lot of things of my childhood. I had to stay a while seated after the film ended to get myself back to the real world.
That’s the power of Ghibli’s films. They have their own world and you become a part of it.
Below is the trailer for this beautiful movie. Hope you like it as much as I did!