Thanks to a little thing known as the Oscar, you have a chance to catch what I believe was the best film of last year–Spirited Away. This amazing Japanese film, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (beating out the over-hyped Ice Age!) As far as I was concerned, this was the biggest surprise of the awards, and it was a night of surprises (Adrien Brody! Roman Polanski!! Michael Moore!!!!)
This is not your typical animated film. Though Disney is responsible for distributing the film in this country, it is as far from typical Disney fare as you can get. The story is exciting, original and completely unpredictable. It’s this last element that I enjoyed most. Granted, I’m a pretty jaded film-goer, so I really respond to a picture that can forge its own way, off the beaten path of tried-and-true storylines, to do something totally unique. I love not knowing what comes next. (Side note: I enjoyed Adaptation for this same reason.)
It’s the story of a girl named Chihiro who learns to rely on her own wits and perseverance when she’s separated from her parents in a mysterious, ghostly ruin of a city. I won’t attempt to explain more than that, since the story is filled with so many unusual, fantastical characters, stunning imagery, and imaginative events that I can’t do justice to it without giving too much away.
Highly recommended! [***** out of 5]