Spirited Away Definitely Worth a View


Lincoln Currie 

     Spirited Away is a modern-day classic and director Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece. The movie’s themes will make it relevant for decades to come. And please, watch this movie in Japanese with subtitles.

The film begins with a girl, Chihiro, and her mother and father as they go for a car ride. Things change when the family stops the car in front of a strange tunnel and walks through it. They find an abandoned theme park on the other side, and Chihiro eventually wanders away from her parents. Shortly after separating from her parents, Chihiro stumbles upon a massive bathhouse. On the way, she meets Haku, a boy who tries to protect her from Yubaba, an evil sorceress who seems to have the entire bathhouse under a spell. What follows is a fantastical series of events that I do not wish to spoil too much for you, with one exception that will be marked below.

What impresses me most about the movie is the way that it gets its message across. Unlike many animated films that have a message, Spirited Away refuses to beat the audience across the face until it, submitting to the buffering, acknowledges what the filmmaker has to say. Spirited Away subtlety touches on issues of identity and conservation.

The movie explores the issue of identity through Chihiro’s quest to find and preserve her name after Yubaba tries to strip her of it. The theme of conservation is evident in the sludge monster that carries all the trash that people dump into the river. None of those themes are obvious to the reader right away. While the storytelling is superb, the animation in the movie is also striking.

     Spirited Away is done to perfection in the anime style. Many compare the visuals in Spirited Away to Alice in Wonderland, and rightfully so. The two both offer surreal and majestic visions of what feels like an alternate reality. Even if you dislike anime as a genre, the detailed, and at times bewildering visuals in the movie are more than impressive. Please heed the warning below before reading the next paragraph.


The most beautiful scene in the film is when Haku, who is now revealed to be the spirit of the river, has his curse broken through Chihiro’s love and disintegrates while flying through the air with her. It is breathtaking to watch.


     Spirited Away is, without exaggeration, one of the best animated movies ever made–it won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature for a reason. It may also be one of the best films of any kind ever made. The animation in the film is sure to leave the viewer awestruck, and the storytelling in the movie is sure to leave the viewer thinking. It’s timeless; it’s beautiful; it’s powerful. Spirited Away is a movie that everyone, young and old, must see.