Movie Review: Spirited Away

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For those who have watched and are interested in animation films such as My Neighbour Totoro and Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away is a film that I would highly recommend for its beautiful animation and detailed plot line. Released on 20 July 2001, Spirited Away tells the fascinating story of Chihiro Ogino, a ten-year old girl who accidentally enters the spirit world in the midst of moving to a new neighbourhood with her parents. After her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba, Chihiro has no choice but to take up a job at Yubaba’s bathhouse in order to find a way to free herself and her parents and return to the human world. The film then recounts many of her bizarre and sometimes touching experiences throughout her ethereal journey in the realm of spirits, including her encounters with frightening spirits, saving her new found friend from the spirit realm as well as reuniting with her own parents. Since its release, Spirited Away has become one of the most successful animation films in Japanese history, grossing about $289 million worldwide and receiving widespread critical acclaim. It even became the highest-grossing film in Japan with a $30.4 billion total, and has won numerous international awards such as the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards and the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival.

I first watched Spirited Away when I was only 6 years old, but it still remains one of the best films I have ever seen at present. Not only is the animation vivid and elaborately detailed, the characters are also well designed and the plot is humorous yet touching, making the film suitable for both children and young adults to watch. In my opinion, Spirited Away stands out the most from other animation films because of the touch of surrealism and fantasy that the director has skilfully incorporated into the film-watching it makes you feel as though you have been personally transported into the spiritual realm together with the protagonist, experiencing the bizarre encounters that occur in her day-to-day life at the bathhouse. Moreover, the film also successfully achieves a balance between humour and solemnity, allowing viewers to have a good laugh at the humorous scenes while also being touched by certain parts of the film, such as Chihiro’s farewell with her friend Haku and her reunion with her own parents.

Spirited Away is a film that is suitable even for young adults and even people who usually do not watch animation films. I highly recommend those of you who have not watched it yet to check it out and be amazed by the beautiful story of Spirited Away.


Calista Lo (4L)


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