'The Secret World of Arrietty' is a supernal coming-of-age story. The movie's hushed mystery and lyricism casts a hypnotizing spell.
"The Secret World of Arrietty" is a marvelously captivating animated feature about very tiny people and the full-scale world they inhabit. It originates with Japan's Studio Ghibli. Disney is distributing its English-language version. Studio Ghibli, you may recall, is the dream factory cofounded by Hayao Miyazaki, the genius behind such classics as "Princess Mononoke," "Spirited Away," "Howl's Moving Castle," and "Ponyo."
"Arrietty" was co-written by Miyazaki and directed by his protégé Hiromasa Yonebayashi. Gary Rydstrom directed the English-language version. The English-language screenplay, in which new dialogue by American voice-over actors had to painstakingly match the mouth movements of the animated characters speaking Japanese, was written by Karey Kirkpatrick.
They should all be commended for a job entrancingly well done. Most animated movies these days are computer-generated, cacaphonous, and tricked up in 3-D. "Arrietty," by contrast, has a hushed mysteriousness. Its becalmed lyricism is a balm.