"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Movie Review: Spirited Away (2001)

Greetings, friends and readers!

My sister and I have been watching “Halloween” movies all week (note, not horror, just anything fantasy and magical!)! Today Iʼm bringing you a review of a movie that would be ideal to watch today if you have nothing else to do. In fact, it is such a good movie for anytime of year. One of my all time favorites! Iʼm also continuing to follow my goal for this year which was to review more international and foreign films!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This review is spoiler free! Feel free to read!

Spirited Away [Sen to Chihiro No Kamikakushi] (2001):
Chihiro and her parents are moving and she hates it. All of her friends are back at home and now sheʼll have no one. On taking a short cut they come upon an old railway station and her parents decide to explore even though Chihiro complains and tells them not to. They find what they think is an amusement park and her parents start eating the food that they find. It turns out that they were intruding on a place of the spirits and are punished. Chihiro is now trapped in this place, and after receiving some help is told that she must work very hard at the bathhouse and have her name changed to Sen. Names have power, and without hers Sen begins to forget who she is. Will she be able to get her and her parents out of there?
“Once youʼve met someone you never really forget them.” 
Genre: Fantasy.
Length: approx. 125 minutes.
Script: 10, no bad words.
Crew: Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki. Written by: Hayao Miyazaki.
Starring the voices of:
Usually I donʼt list the voices for every dubbed version of it, but in here Iʼm going to be listing the cast for two languages: The original Japanese and English (because that version is the one that I watch). One day I want to see the Japanese version just with English subtitles.
Rumi Hiiragi (Japanese) and Daveigh Chase (English) as Chihiro.
Miyu Irino (Japanese) and Jason Marsden (English) as Haku.
Mari Natsuki (Japanese) and Suzanne Pleshette (English) as Yubaba.
Mari Natsuki (Japanese) and Suzanne Pleshette (English) as Zeniba.
Yumi Tamai (Japanese) as Rin and Susan Egan (English) as Lin. “Someday Iʼm getting on that train.”
Bunta Sugawara (Japanese) and David Ogden Stiers (English) as Kamaji.
Ryûnosuke Kamiki (Japanese) and Tara Strong (English) as Boh.
Akio Nakamura (Japanese) and Bob Bergen (English) as No-Face.
Takashi Naitô (Japanese) and Michael Chiklis (English) as Akio Ogino.
Yasuko Sawaguchi (Japanese) and Lauren Holly as Yûko Ogino.
Costumes: 8, just fine. There are some guests at the bathhouse and a baby who don't wear that much. Something that is relevant to this time is a line from that baby: "You'll get sick if you go outside."
Animation: 10, this is incredible! Besides the fact that it is hand drawn and amazing in that feat alone, it is stunning. The water, the colors, the lighting, all of it top notch and leading to an amazing aesthetic and feel for this.
Music: 10, the music is gorgeous as well! This might be one of my favorite scores for an animated film. It is so relaxing, but has mystery whispering around the edges.
Music by: Joe Hisaishi.
Quotability: 9, there are all kinds of little moments through out the film that my sisters and I quote frequently, but the most used of all has to be:
“Wanna loose your nose?”
Oscars won:
1: Best Animated Feature Film (at the 2002 Oscars). Fun fact, it is so far the only hand drawn film to have won that award!
Content: 8, there is some smoking, gross things and scary scenes. All of it is so bizarre, but that is part of the magic of it!
Originality: 10, This movie is one of the most unique films that Iʼve ever seen. I can honestly (not that I'm ever dishonest!) say that I've never seen anything like this.
Good For: I feel that Chihiro is such a good character for anyone and everyone to follow, to see her struggles and what she does. Any fans of animation, anyone who has just moved and is missing home.
Age Range: Iʼm mentioning it again, there are some strange things in here. Some could be scary for little kids, but I think most people over 8 would be fine. As always (I probably donʼt even have to say it because you know whatʼs coming next), it depends on the person.
Overall Score: 9!
Worth watching?: So much so! There are so many golden moments in here. And, fantastic characters! I love Haku, Lin, Kamaji, and we can't forget the soot spirits!
Will I watch again?: Yes! So far I canʼt tell you how many times Iʼve seen it, and that will only continue to grow.
ʻ“Whatʼs going on?”
“Something you wouldnʼt understand. Itʼs called love.”ʼ
Bonus thoughts:
Where do I begin with an icon of a movie like this? It is so good. Let me straighten this out: Do I believe in “spirits” or “gods” like that who visit a bath house to relax? No. This is fantasy, but it takes place in our world, but I donʼt necessarily believe it then. Stories are impactful not because of the exact details but because of the characters, and in this case it is about Chihiro.
Chihiro is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. She is only 10 (that blows my mind), but goes through so much and grows so much as a result of her journey. The whole movie is fantastic from beginning to end, and she shines as the main character.
I canʼt encourage you guys enough to watch this film because, to me, it is such an important milestone for animated movies. You might be like me the first few times that I watched it and think that it is extremely weird, but it grows on you. 
If nothing that I said there convinced you, I have one final word: dragon.
Now, go find out what you think of it!

Oh and look!

My wonderful younger sister made this header for me for Halloween! What do you guys think about it?
Clockwise from the top left: Harry Potter, Casper (1995), The Princess Bride (1987), Hocus Pocus (1993), Ghostbusters (1984), & Hocus Pocus (1993).

Thank you so much for reading! I hope that you are all staying safe, healthy, and happy. Have any of you seen this movie? I would love to talk about it with you! What will you be watching tonight for Halloween? Hint, for me itʼs one of the movies in my header.

Happy Halloween! 



  1. I keep meaning to watch this one, I need more Ghibli movies in my life.

    1. I always think that I'm such a Ghibli pro, but I've only seen six, so I need to watch more, too!

  2. I love that Halloween header! And I've actually seen all of those movies, so yay.
    I've seen Spirited Away once I think. It was my best friend's favorite movie for a long time, and I saw it at a sleepover with her. I should see it again, but it was really good.

    1. Thanks, McKayla! Hey, that's pretty neat! It's rare when I read a list of movies and I've seen them all.
      That sounds like such a fun memory! I love watching movies with friends, but I also love making commentary, which my sisters are used to, but it is annoying to other people.

  3. I've GOT to watch this movie - I've barely seen any Studio Ghibli movies, and everyone raves about this one. Awesome review! I'm more convinced than ever. :D

    1. Oh, Nicole, I have the feeling that you would LOVE this! Studio Ghibli is such a staple in animated movies, and they have so many films. Thank you so, so, so, much! :D

  4. I love Spirited Away. Definitely one of Studio Ghibli's best.

    1. Everything about it is so unique, I love it! I think My Neighbor Totoro holds the top spot for me, but this one might be second!

  5. Love your new header!!!



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"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles