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Lush animation and a wonderful story make this Japanese film adaptation of Mary Norton’s story The Borrowers great fun. The Clock family are tiny creatures—Borrowers—who live under the house of the “beans”—human beings. They borrow only what they need, nothing more, and they have made a quiet life for themselves. That life exists in the shadow of danger, as the enormous neighbors that they depend on for survival must never see them. This touching and gently suspenseful story is enhanced by a young Arrietty’s yearning for independence, her encounter with a kind-hearted, ailing human boy, and exquisitely imagined gardens that could spark any imagination. Hayao Mizyazki wrote the screenplay; he directed Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away among many others. Arrietty’s director, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, was a key animator on all of those films. The Secret World of Arrietty is a delight. (Disney)

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