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The Secret World of Arrietty Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Ghibli: masters of the animation universe. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Size isn't everything. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    With its lush colors, imaginative view of ordinary objects and meticulously crafted miniature civilization, it transports viewers to an enchanting alternate storybook reality.

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The lyrical animation, with its meditative attention to nature, bears the unique stamp of Japan's Studio Ghibli, cofounded by the great ­"Spirited Away" animator Hayao Miyazaki.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Disney TV star Bridgit Mendler brings an effective if limited friendliness to Arrietty; Will Arnett and Amy Poehler are relatively restrained as her parents; Carol Burnett runs through a career's worth of vocal flourishes and aural panic attacks as the housekeeper.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Secret World of Arrietty reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 7+

Deeply felt anime about loneliness and friendship.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Secret World of Arrietty is a charming and unexpectedly profound anime film from the Japanese studio responsible for movies like Ponyo, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle. It's full of heart but also has some sad moments and tackles some somber themes -- including illness (Arrietty befriends a child who is said to be dying) and estranged family relationships -- which may make it a little intense for the youngest moviegoers. There's a kidnapping, and a sick young boy's mother sends him away to stay with a relative for a while -- a separation that may upset some little kids. But overall the movie is very sweet, and there's no swearing, smoking, drinking, strong violence, or overly sexy content to worry about.

  • Families can talk about why Shawn's mother sent him away to the country. How did that make you feel? Do you think it was a good decision?
  • What do you think The Secret World of Arrietty is trying to teach audiences? Do all movies and TV shows for kids need to teach them something?
  • Families who want to learn more about this kind of animation may want to watch other anime films together. How are they similar to each other, and how are they different from most American-made animated movies?
  • Kids: If you've read the book this movie is based on, how does it compare? Which do you like better?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: Teaches kids about the importance of communication and the value of understanding other people's circumstances.

  • message true4

    Messages: The movie's strongly positive message is to be brave and reach out to someone (even those you don't quite understand); chances are the world will embrace you, too.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Arrietty is a strong teen who's brimming with confidence, compassion, and a healthy sense of self. Though she does sometimes go against her parents' will, she never does it out of malice and is always acting out of the goodness of her own heart. On the other hand, the housekeeper shows a discomfiting mean streak, which is played for laughs.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: A human destroys the Borrowers' habitat. An important character is kidnapped but later rescued. The main character befriends a child who is said to be dying, which could upset some kids.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: A few brand names are seen, including Ivory dish soap.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue