Title: Spirited Away
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Release Date: July 7, 2001
Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Adventure
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 125 minutes
● Daveigh Chase
● Suzanne Pleshette
● Jason Marsden
Kid Friendly Rating: 9+. The movie features several spooky monsters and storylines, and some characters smoke and drink ambiguous substances. Click here for the Parent Rating Guide!
Personal Rating: 5/5
Synopsis: Ten-year-old Chihiro and her family are on their way to a new home and a new life, when Chihiro’s father spots a potential shortcut through a wooded lane. The family arrives at a mysterious dark tunnel in the road, and Chihiro’s parents decide to take a walk to see what lies at the other end. They discover what looks like an abandoned theme park in the middle of a grassy meadow. When Chihiro’s parents smell fresh food, the hunger from a long car ride sets in and gets the best of them, and they go off in search of the source, against Chihiro’s protestations.
Chihiro is unable to persuade her parents to leave, and when sun sets, she finds herself trapped in a resort populated by spirits who come from near and far to seek refuge. Chihiro meets a boy named Haku, who offers to help Chihiro find safety in the resort. Chihiro soon sets off on a quest to meet the leader of the resort and find freedom both for herself and her parents.
Aogaeru: Welcome the rich man, he’s hard for you to miss. His butt keeps getting bigger, so there’s plenty there to kiss!
Zeniba: We’re identical twins and exact opposites.
What a strange and wonderful movie! This movie has been on my must-see list for so long. It’s been around since 2001, so perhaps many people are already familiar with it, but it seems almost like Disney is content to just let it sit on the shelf for English-speaking audiences to discover on their own. With a two-year-old running around and my Netflix queue looking slim, I figured it was finally time to give it a chance.
The story shares quite a bit with Louis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. It is full of all manner of silly and sometimes scary creatures, humorous moments, and sticky situations for the young protagonist. Chihiro starts out as a very restless and scared little girl, but you can see and feel her maturing and growing in confidence through each of her escapades.
My wife and I were both excited to find a great new movie to watch, but best of all, our daughter watched with rapt attention for a good hour! Granted, she was also tired, but this never happens!
Bottom line, this is the best kind of kid friendly movie: one the kids love, and the adults will like, too.