We are huge movie buffs in this house, encouraging our children to watch movies beyond the cinema blockbusters, delving into old classics, musicals, anime and so much more.
When we first watched Totoro together, a few years ago, George and Molly were hooked from the start. To this day we often find ourselves absent-mindedly singing, ‘Totoro, Totoro!’ at the top of our voices; just the simple sound of the song from the movie lifts our spirits and the gloomiest days suddenly become wonderful.
It was movie morning in our house on Sunday, and Molly chose Totoro to start us off. I began questioning why we return to this movie, interested in what makes it so much fun to watch.
If you haven’t seen Totoro, the first thing I want to say is, where have you been all this time?! It’s a cinema masterpiece. Created by Hayao Miyazaki, famous for one of my favourite films, Spirited Amy, as well as Princess Mononoke and How’s Moving Castle, My Neighbour Totoro is an outstanding story of love, friendship, family bonds and hope.
It tells the story of a father and two daughters who have recently moved into a new house, whilst their mother is being taken care of in hospital. We aren’t given many details about the mother’s ailments, yet there is a feeling of great loss and emptiness within the family.
Whilst the elder sister is busy settling into her new school, the younger sister Mei is discovering the world surrounding the house.
On her adventures she encounters a magical being called Totoro. He is huge, cute and his voice could be considered loud/scary, yet neither child is phased by him.
They find him fascinating, fun and, I believe, full of hope.
As the story unfolds the children become more concerned about their mother and grow closer to Totoro. My children adore Totoro;they love his face, his carefree attitude and how fluffy they think he would be if ever they met him!
As for the children, Molly relates to Mei on all levels! She is cute, loud and somewhat fearless. George loves the film because it’s funny, adventurous and he imagines being friends with Totoro when he watches it. For me, a lot of what I love about this movie is based on emotions and music. Of course I love the story and Totoro, but when I hear the music or see the children emotionally distressed about their mother, my heart breaks.
I still can’t believe this film was made in 1988, it doesn’t feel dated at all. It really holds its own in our movie collection, one that George and Molly pick time and time again. I’m not planning on giving away the ending, but I will say it leaves me all warm and fuzzy!
This is a movie that will always hold a special place in our hearts, and it’s an absolute must-see!
Have you seen Totoro? What do you like about it the most?