Studio Ghibli makes masterpieces all the time, and like my last article on Ponyo this film is one of the greater ones out there.
I love this movie because it is so expansive. The creator uses simple elements like a breeze, raindrops, the flight of a ladybug, an expression, a pause, the sound of a bird, etc. to create a feeling for the viewer and give us the experience of what is happening onscreen. This movie engages the senses in a way that few animated (or non-animated) films do. It is visually beautiful and we can hear every sound as well as imagine the touch of a raindrop or a breeze.
We can even imagine the feel of the breeze or the smell of herbs cooking. It's not hurried in the least bit and as every long moment stretches out onscreen instead of becoming bored, we enjoy the space, and then start to anticipate what is coming. The themes are intense and includes divorce, abandonment, mortality, possible extinction, etc.,but these things are touched on in a way that I believe is not disturbing for anybody. It really is a movie for all ages, and anybody will enjoy the beauty of the movie, and relate to the underlying themes commensurate with their life experience, in my opinion. If people are used to fast moving, loud movies, they may find this one boring, but I'd say this one is hard not to appreciate.
What's also great is that this is a magnificent story of perseverance, determination, friendship, and love. It's a throw back to the purity and innocence of movies like Milo and Otis, The Aristocats, and Lady and the Tramp, A thing that movies nowadays are starting to lack. Which makes it a very refreshing break from the real world.
Studio Ghibli always has amazing movies, so for a pleasant experience, rent or buy this movie. The Secret Life of Arietty is not a movie to miss and will leave you very happy in the end.