When Marnie Was There

Discussion in 'Specific Anime Discussion' started by Damias, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. Damias

    Damias Database Moderator

    Posted by Damias on Apr 7, 2019
  2. TheAzureComet

    TheAzureComet Well-Known Member

    Been putting this off for awhile, but thanks to ABC for the nudge I needed to finally check it out.
    As usual some of the absolutely most beautiful animation I've come to love and expect from a Ghibli film. It's such a treat one could watch this movie on mute and truly appreciate the aesthetics alone.

    Easy 4.5/5 for me. Probably would have been a 5 if there was just a bit more development to the characters beyond Anna/Marnie. (Mainly wanted a little more from Sayaka and her brother.) That and the "mystery" wasn't the strongest "surprise". (Granted I didn't quite figure it out all the way at first it was kinda expected.)

    Heartbreakingly beautiful film. Definitely will be watching again very soon & highly recommended.
    Just wish it wasn't allergy season. Hard to watch that last 15 minutes when the high pollen is watering up one's eyes.

    So what's up with the wibbley wobbley timey wimey stuff?
    Was Anna actually visiting moments from the past?
    Spirit of Marnie... something something afterlife on Earth?
    Did Marnie actually know who Anna was? Got that impression a couple times. Like, didn't she say something about her always watching from afar or something to that effect? Kinda like watching from "Heaven" or whatever. Maybe the strong emotions and memories tied to the mansion allowed for her to visit but only as a child when those memories were strongest as they were made. (But that's a whole nother conversation on ghosts n such IRL.) Suppose that would explain Marnie getting Anna and Kazuhiko mixed up... past memories mixed with present ones.

    And that strong need for Anna to forgive her since Emily never did...
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  3. commonxreaction

    commonxreaction Well-Known Member

    Much obliged @Damias

    Just finished watching this with @SkyOnAnime and @KarmaKhameleon as a group project for Anime Bingo Challenge: Spring 2019.

    Overall, I enjoyed it a lot. I didn't realize it was a more recent Ghibli film until a little ways through. I thought it was like 90s or 00s, but ended up being 2014. That clearly shows though, this was some of the best art I've seen in a Ghibli film. It still had the allure of the older stuff; Only Yesterday, Princess Mononoke, etc. But, you could tell it was overall more vibrant and modern. So, even for Ghibli, I felt like it was outdoing itself in terms of art.

    The main reason I wanted to watch this film was because the main character was introverted. So I didn't really know too much else about this as a whole. So, when we started getting aspects of magical realism I was a bit taken back. Although, I suppose a lot of Ghibli films tend to lend themselves to that genre. Anyway, I know for a lot of the front half of the movie I was trying to figure out what was up with Marnie. She was clearly suspicious as heck, and the most off-putting thing to me was that she said that Anna was "her" secret. Although, clearly, Anna was the one who stumbled upon this crazy situation. So, to me, that was a red flag. I also was worried about this "juice" that Marnie gave her. If anyone hands you anything, and says it's "juice" it probably is not actually juice.

    I was leaning towards Marnie being a ghost, and she was trying to "recruit" other people into the other world. But, it didn't end up panning out like that. There isn't a whole lot of explanation, but it seems like Anna was prone to passing out/hallucinating anyway and that coupled with the latent memories of her grandmother, Marnie, probably created these scenarios. At a few points throughout the series though, we do see Anna, as a smaller child, and she had a doll that was very clearly Marnie. So that is also something of note.

    I wanted to like Anna more than what I did, but she ended up being more of a little shit than I wanted her to be. Especially when people were trying to be so considerate and nice to her. A lot of angsty kids don't get that opportunity to have real support. The people she stayed with during the summer, her Aunt's relatives, they literally just let Anna run all over the place. Anna would like pass out in the gutter, get brought back home by some stranger, and the relatives were just like, "It is what it is." Anna had so much liberty to live her life, and she was still such a little punk. Not that she didn't play it well, I think she was a well-written character, I just had a hard time sympathizing with her. I was on the cusp of liking her until she called that girl a fat pig, for basically zero reason.

    All-in-all, I liked the movie a lot. Maybe more than any other Ghibli movie i've seen to date. A lot of the time I like them more in theory than in execution. But, this one was quite well done: 4.5/5
    SkyOnAnime and TheAzureComet like this.
  4. SkyOnAnime

    SkyOnAnime Active Member

    I also watched this as a group with @commonxreaction and @KarmaKhameleon.

    Honestly, one of the main reasons I wanted to watch this was because someone told me it was Ghibli film about lesbians. And it almost was. At least, that's what it initially seemed like. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't, but I really enjoyed it as a whole anyway.

    The art and scenery is so beautiful, as usual, and easy to get swept up in. Every scene has such intricate detail, from the weeds and flowers in the grass to the little trinkets in the house. Being someone who hates the (American) country/rustic aesthetic, anime really makes the Japanese countryside look appealing.

    I really liked Anna as a character, even if, like @commonxreaction said, she is very unlikable at parts. I get that she's struggling with depression and that her first instinct is to lash out, but I can't help but feel like everyone is trying to include her and compliment her and be supportive, when she's acting like she has none of those things. I felt really bad for that girl she called a fat pig. So uncalled for.

    And as much as I liked the people she stayed with (aunt and uncle? Family friends? Can't remember.), they did seem like, super lax. Even though she's not their kid, they let her wander off all day without so much as asking where she's going. First of all, she's already got mental health issues. Second, that woman's mother came and complained about her (exaggeratedly and annoyingly, but still), and she literally passed out in the street -- on more than one occasion -- and had to be brought home by someone. And these people just...don't care? Seems irresponsible.

    Speaking of irresponsible adults, why does that one guy just row his boat in the marsh, by himself, like every day?

    I admit I found the Marnie bit frustrating until the end. Like @commonxreaction, my immediate thought was that she was a ghost living in the haunted house -- especially when that painter girl says something like, "So you've met Marnie too," and when Sayaka finds her diary in the house. But at that point, Anna says that she's imaginary, which I did not get at all up until that point. Anna saw the house and waded across the river to talk to her imaginary friend? Seems like a stretch. I guess you could argue that it's some combination of the supernatural elements/the fact that it's actually her grandmother luring her there.

    The doll thing bothered me, too. By the end, they reveal that Marnie is Anna's grandmother, but there are also flashbacks of her having a doll that looks exactly like Marnie. Maybe that was just how she imagined Marnie in her mind because she had nothing else to go off of? But it seems like a weird connection to make when the doll has literally nothing to do with anything else. I really want some clarification on the symbolism, I guess.

    Additionally, the relationship between Marnie and Anna seemed very romantic to be revealed as grandmother/granddaughter at the end. I know a lot of it can be written off as familial love and strong bonds, but there are some parts that are just...too much? For example, Anna being jealous of Kotsuhiko, saying "He's a really good dancer," and Marnie even acknowledging it by dancing with her. Maybe it's a translation thing, or maybe it's just me. I dunno.

    But in the end, even though I wanted it to be more romantic and more supernatural than it was, I really felt for Anna. I felt lonely and jealous and hurt for her, and eventually happy, too. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Marnie -- she kind of fell flat to me. But maybe that's because we're seeing it from an outsider's point of view, just like Anna is. After all, we never really get to know Marnie -- just the pieces of her that we get through Anna, and through stories. It's hard to tell with Ghibli, but I guess it's supposed to be ambiguous. Maybe that's for the best. 4.5/5 for emotions, nostalgia, and art.

    P.S. The song at the end was super fitting and sad and I loved it.

    P.S.S. I really liked Anna's voice from the beginning, and I found out that she's voiced by Hailee Steinfeld, whose music I already like. She did a great job in this.
    TheAzureComet likes this.
  5. KarmaKhameleon

    KarmaKhameleon Well-Known Member

    Group watched this with @commonxreaction and @SkyOnAnime

    Ok, Im going to make this short. This was a sleepy anime. Sleepy as in I fell asleep about 4 times watching this movie. Not to discredit it or say it was bad. It was a decent 4/5, but it did move slow and had a relaxing overall feel.

    Everything played out exactly how I thought it would just based on what I read in the synopsis - everything but the familial connection between Marnie and Anna. But I knew Marnie would be a spirit/ghost.

    I liked the whole concept of the house. How it was a mysterious and you could only reach it when the tide was low, unless you traveled by boat. I loved its estately allure. I also enjoyed Marnie, not so much Anna.
  6. KarmaKhameleon

    KarmaKhameleon Well-Known Member

    To answer your question about the whole time warp thing, I definitely think it was Marnies spirit that was appearing for Anna. The reason why Marnies spirit came through to Anna in the physical world was to let some healing take place. 1 because she needed healing regarding Annas mom (Marnies daughter). Ie Forgiveness. Which is what Anna gave her. 2 Meeting Marnie gave Anna the chance to understand and appreciate her foster parents/aunt.
    Also, Marnie did know it was Anna, her grandchild. Thats why she was like oh you dont know my name I told you before.
    TheAzureComet likes this.
  7. commonxreaction

    commonxreaction Well-Known Member

    He was doing his best.

    Everything Anna and Marnie did, up until it was revealed Marnie was the grandmother, was pointing to a romantic relationship between the two. The concept of being one another's secrets, the jealousy and fear of losing one another, and the general glances and looks they shared with another. It was almost as though it was meant to be like that and then at the last minute something happened and they decided to change the end. Like someone was like, "We can't tell a story about lesbians, make Marnie the grandmother." Even when Hisako was telling Marnie's story to Anna, there was a lot of anticipation created, and it's almost expected of the audience to piece together Marnie being the grandmother, but that isn't revealed yet. We don't get that revelation until later, when Anna's aunt comes to get her. So it's almost like an afterthought at that point. Something to hastily cover up what's just unfolded.

    Yeah, it almost has to be that Marnie is appearing before Anna, and not the other way around. There is probably some sort of "subconscious" stuff going on there you could pick into and look at as an example. Anna has "created" Marnie as a means for coping with her situation. But, again, created is loosely used here, as I would argue that her subconscious is simply remembering these stories and events that Marnie was telling Anna as a child, which we are later shown near the end of the movie. It's almost like Anna knew the truth the whole time, but she was burying it a bit.
  8. KarmaKhameleon

    KarmaKhameleon Well-Known Member

    Im surprised I have so much to say about this anime which I thought was pretty simple at first. But I guess once you pick it a part, it does have some layers.

    Anna kind of did have some lesbian vibes to her, but Im not sure that this is what this movie was about. I think what could be read as lesbian vibes could also be that of jealousy in friendship. Like the type of friend that does not want their friend to hang out with other people. Weve all had that one friend that got jealous when we became friends with someone else or when theyve met a friend of ours that weve known longer than them. Especially since Marnie was not the type to open up to people or to have friends. That jealously became magnified.

    I think those intimate moments they shared, like when they were rowing the boat together could look like a romantic gesture, but it was actually grandmotherly love, holding and snuggling her baby, her granddaughter.
  9. KarmaKhameleon

    KarmaKhameleon Well-Known Member

    And I have no idea who that guy is rowing the boat. This anime has a very very spiritual tone to it...

    Could he be symbolic of God? Welcoming Anna in to the "other dimension". Maybe Anna IS the one visiting Marnie, maybe not in Heaven because there is still suffering where they are at, but in an in between? Sort of like astral projection! This could be the symbolism behind the house on the other side of the river or whatever the water body was. Like you had to crossover to another dimension to get there. Anna visiting Marnie in a limbo type dimension is becoming more and more plausible as Im typing this. This would also explain why Anna can see Kazuhiko as well. Plus, it would make since that Marnie is in limbo because she still needs to tie up some loose ends in the physical world, like I said before the forgiveness thing.

    I dont think the guy is God though. Maybe an angel of sorts?
    SkyOnAnime likes this.
  10. KarmaKhameleon

    KarmaKhameleon Well-Known Member

    OMG @commonxreaction you just reminded me of the "juice". When she said juice, I was like uh uh girl that is wine! Im running with this spiritual thing (after all Ghibli movies always have that spiritual undertone).

    It's Jesus juice! (Wine you drink in church after if youve been baptized or had your holy communion which represents the blood of Christ and when Jesus turned water in to wine.) It's just another nod that Ghibli is giving to spirit.

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