My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

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My Neighbor Totoro

Studio Ghibli. How do they keep doing it? This film is so memorable to the point that Totoro is the logo for the studio. Going in order and seeing these films are such an experience because each film is so unique well written and all around beautiful. This is the case with My Neighbor Totoro as well. Just an all around joy to watch and already its one of my favorite from the studio (although this is an unfair assessment because I still have a way to go in completing them all).

The film is about a family that move into a new home. The two daughters get accustomed to their surroundings and interact with the spirits in the house and around them. They befriend an animal like being who resides near them. He is mysterious but friendly and helps in the time of need. He is Totoro. The girl’s mother is in the hospital with an illness and her return home is highly anticipated and worrisome for the family. The film is light on plot but its the animation and the experience that makes the film.

I loved the score of this film. I don’t know if its the main theme in the film but that piece is wonderful. Much like the rest of Miyazaki’s work this film is so vibrant with pristine animation. Miyazaki creates spiritual beings and intricate plot points, like the suswatari in this film. Such an imaginative piece of work. It doesn’t have a deep plot like some of the earlier Miyazaki works but even though its simpler and easier to digest its still as imaginative as ever.

This is a film you can watch with family and the little ones if you’ve got them. I have to say, having an HBO Max subscription has been a real treat being able to really dig into these works and see the creativity on display. I have a feeling when all is said and done My Neighbor Totoro will rank highly among the rest of the studio works. If you haven’t seen it, you know what to do.

8/10

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