When Marnie was there(2014)

When Marnie was There - Official Trailer
When Marnie was There - Song: Fine on the outside





Final Trailer

Contains Spoilers!

The Real location of the story
The Imaginary location

Review of When Marnie Was There

When Marnie Was There

Anime(2014) MOVIE

     D: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

     W: Hiromasa Yonebayashi Keiko Niwa Masashi Ando

     M: Takatsugu Muramatsu

      Special Theme Song, "Fine on the outside" by Priscella Ahn

     From the book by Joan G. Robinson

     Art Director: Yohei Taneda

MAL      8.18

ANN      8.193

IMDB     7.7



Anna Sasaki




Yoriko Sasaki



Setsu Oiwa

Kiyomasa Oiwa





When Marnie Was There(2014)” is a deeply psychological drama of a young 12 year old girl, Anna, whose family all died when she was 2 and because no one wanted her, she was sent to an orphanage where she lived for 3 years. Finally a very good childless family, Yoriko Sasaki and her husband, adopted Anna when she was 5 and Anna has lived as Anna Sasaki in Sapporo as their child until she was 12 when the movie opens.


As one would suspect, this back story, would cause anyone substantial emotional problems of being completely and totally alone during the critical years of 2 to 5. And Anna is no exception.


She begins with the Sasaki’s in a relatively happy manner, of being finally accepted and no longer being alone. But as she approaches puberty, dark clouds of doubt gather within her, and cause a total lack of emotion (an ordinary face as Yoriko mentions to the doctor) and this stress causes severe asthmatic attacks. She seemly cannot reciprocate the love which Yoriko has for her and calls her Auntie rather than mother. In Japanese culture, a strange, older woman might be called auntie as a sign of respect, but also indicates the emotinal distance of the relationship. An auntie is not necessarily a close, warm, loving relationship. So Anna calling Yoriko, Auntie, hurts. She so wants Anna to love her the way she loves Anna.


In discussion with the doctor, it is decided to send Anna to the East coast of Hokaido, to live for the Summer with Yoriko’s relatives, the Oiwa’s, Setsu and Kiyomasa, because the air is clean and good, and as Yoriko says to Anna as she departs, “Return Happy”. I do not know if this applies universally, but I would hope so, that when one is young, they have an Aunt and Uncle who live in a cabin up in the mountains, who are just funny, loving, warm human beings. The Oiwa’s are beyond wonderful, and almost immediately take to Anna. They live in a very small community on a marsh lake.


Anna posts a letter, and then goes down to the shore to sketch, when across the marsh, she sees a giant house, and suddenly, violent memories and emotions are invoked in Anna, and she begins to meet a young blond girl about her age, who lives in the Marsh House. The blond girl says that she is Marnie.


The two girls form an intense, emotional relationship even to the point of confessing their love for each other, but it is a strange relationship, and even Anna seems to know that Marnie is just a creation of her own mind, or is she?


This is where the story is so masterfully told, that an audience will also begin to see ghosts of various kinds. But “When Marnie Was There(2014)” is not a ghost story. It is the story of such intense loss, of losing your entire family, of being totally alone, and no one wanting you; and then what that loss does to a young child.


Be sure you have plenty of nose tissues handy, because you will need them big time.


This movie gets into you, and digs around, unearthing skeletons, that even you thought were long buried.

Marnie in the movie is not a ghost, she is at once a real human being, and also a psychomorph. She is two people in Anna’s life. Beyond this would be spoiler territory, but observe very closely at 01:20:00 when Marnie is with Anna at the Grandmother’s funeral. This is the real Marnie of the story, the blond girl in the blue dress, and this Marnie stands in for an even more realer Marnie who stands behind the girl in the blue dress.


Anna meets and becomes friends with a young girl from Tokyo, Sayaka, whose family moves into the Marsh House, and also a much older woman artist named Hisako who paints the Marsh house.


In a violent storm, Anna and Marnie are alone in the grain Silo, in what must be, one of the most terrifying scenes that would scare the wits out of anyone, but Marnie disappears, and Anna becomes very sick, and she has intense fever dreams of guilt, blame, loss, redemption, and forgiveness.


While Anna is recovering, Sayaka finds a picture of the Marsh House, which she brings over to show Anna, and on the back it says “To Marnie from Hisako” and both girls go running off to find Hisako because they now know that Hisako actually knew Marnie.


This leads to Hisako telling the back story of the House, Marnie, and the family history which is sad beyond measure. If you should get through this story in one emotional piece, you are doing better than the people at Pywackett Productions who find this so incredibly painful. But in this story notice how Marnie’s hair slowly changes color.


And then at the end, when Yoriko comes to bring Marnie back, she brings with her, the final piece of the mystery, jigsaw puzzle, that when set, tells the entire story in one piece. This is even more emotional than Marnie’s back story. If you are sensitive, you might entirely lose it here.


But still there is one more! During the final credits, Anna introduces Yoriko to Hisako, notice what she says, and that will tell you the entire story. Beautiful, beautiful ending.


The emotional power of “When Marnie Was There(2014)” is undeniable, but difficult to convey.

This story trades in some very deep waters, and invokes powerful emotions, some very difficult to even explain. The emotions like recovering lost memories are ghosts of sorts, and one sits there saying, “I know this feeling, but what is it? Where did it come from? Why is it here now? What am I supposed to do?

This story and it’s telling is a masterpiece that can and will, if you are open to it, cleve your heart like Anna slices bright, red tomatoes with her katana.



the girl trapped behind the blue window…

that was long ago.” -Tōichi  01:32:05


Highly Recommended!

When Marnie Was There
Yes, this is a must see
and feel! And you will!
Be ready for tears.
Even a stone would weep here!

Highly recommended

Folcwine P. Pywackett