Spirited Away (2001) – Ace Mini-Review

Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
Written & Directed by: Miyazaki Hayao
Japan, 2001

How good is this movie?

A richly imaginative movie, if not always the easiest to follow. The visuals are beautiful, and the music is pretty. The young hero shows courage, humility, and kindness – even while she’s also scared out of her wits and coping with the loss of her parents. Some storylines could stand to be cut (I don’t know that the No Face plot adds anything to the story) and others could be better developed (I would have appreciated more background on Haku and Zeniba). But even these underdeveloped elements give depth to the world.

How ace is this movie?

There’s no romantic storyline in the movie; Chihiro’s main goal is to rescue her parents. The relationship between Chihiro and Haku is certainly important, but since Chihiro is a human and Haku is a river god, this can’t be viewed as a traditional romance. Instead, the film presents their relationship as a friendship, with a touch of environmentalism. It’s clearly a love story: Kamaji does recognise Chihiro’s feelings for Haku as love, and Zeniba even calls him Chihiro’s “boyfriend”. But it’s not a sexual love story.

3.5 Stars; 4 Aces

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