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Anna is 12 years old, and she is unhappy. She has loving foster parents, but the combination of her insecurity regarding their love and her introverted nature among other children her age lead her to believe she is not worthy of love or happiness. The stress triggers her asthma, and her foster mother, desperate to see her happy and healthy, sends her to relatives at the seaside to recover.

Her hosts give her freedom to be alone, to pursue her interests, and to be herself. As she explores the area, she finds a mansion that is purported to be empty and falling into disrepair. Anna discovers Marnie, an unusual girl of her own age who lives there.

Thrilled to have a friend who cares about her and who seems to understand her, Anna realizes that there’s something different about Marnie, something she can’t quite explain.

When Marnie Was There combines the modern-day themes of isolation and being an outsider with classic animation and a vibe that is part fairy tale, part ghost story.

This quiet, emotional Japanese film features the lush, hand-painted animation expected from Studio Ghibli movies. On disc now.

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