In need of a great movie to watch over the weekend, I asked around... And was given Spirited Away. I've seen some of the films to come out of Studio Ghibli (I especially loved When Marnie Was There), but this, perhaps the studio's most well-known, somehow eluded me.
Spirited Away is about a young girl who, along with her parents, gets trapped in the Spirit Realm. Chichiro is upset about having to move away from her friends and us reluctant to follow her parents when they stop to explore a seemingly-abandoned village. Good thing she does, though, because her parents are transformed into pigs when they stop to eat at a mysterious, but also deserted, restaurant. The whole family is trapped when the sun sets and the village comes alive (?) with ghosts and spirits. Chichiro learns the only way to rescue her parents and escape is to outwit the evil sorceress who oversees the village. Something that is much harder than it seems.
Spirited Away ranks right up there with the Strangest Movies I've Ever Seen... and I've seen some odd ones! (The most bizarre being Stalker, a Russian-language film I watched at a friend's house because her BF liked to show guests odd movies...just to mess with them. I'm told Stalker actually inspired the Jeff VanderMeer book Annihilation. Having read this book and watched the movie, I can definitely see the influence) Overall, I'm not sure if I liked Spirited Away or not. I'm sure much was lost in the translation, being that this is not originally an English-language movie, and several cultural differences added another level of foreign-ness to the experience. But I can see how the film is as popular as it is...especially among Anime fans. If nothing else, it was certainly entertaining and kept me guessing right to the end.
So thank you to the kid who recommended Spirited Away (you know who you are). Now I can say I've seen it.