Legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki ("Spirited Away," "Kiki's Delivery Service") and his animation house Studio Ghibli rarely miss the mark, and their latest effort, "The Secret World of Arrietty," appears to be no exception. Based on Mary Norton's beloved 1952 novel "The Borrowers," about a family of miniature people who live in a world hidden from ordinary humans, "Arrietty" has garnered excellent reviews.
The Times' Kenneth Turan calls "Arrietty" "impeccable," a film that "will make believers out of adults and children alike." Turan notes that although Miyazaki did not direct the film, he did conceive it, write the screenplay and hand-pick director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who makes his feature debut. The film, Turan writes, features many Ghibli trademarks, "including a reverence for the natural world and the ability to reproduce it in ravishing, hand-drawn animation detail," as well as "an intrepid female hero" (the eponymous Arrietty, voiced by Bridgit Mendler in the U.S. version). Turan commends Yonebayashi for injecting peril and depth into its charming story, and most of all for creating "a special and marvelous world for audiences to enter."