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A somewhat tea related movie review... (FYI I'm drinking Earl Grey as I type )
When Marnie Was There (2014)
Until whenever 'How Do You Live?' is completed, this is Studio Ghibli's most recent film (not including the new CGI heresy 'Earwig and the Witch') and it's one of the very best. It's was directed and co-written by 'Arrietty's Hiromasa Yonebayashi. 12-year old Anna is a foster child who goes to live with her carer's relatives in the country to get some fresh air after a bad asthma attack. Anna repeatedly says "I hate myself" under hear breath. Apart from the obvious emotional baggage Anna has, it's not revealed what the specific cause of her low self-esteem is until much later in the film. She wonders upon a dilapidated house and meets a girl called Marnie, who may or may not be a ghost, or imaginary friend. It's mostly about coming of age and coming to terms with one's past. There were some elements (but by no means all) of Anna's character that I could identify with. There seemed to be an extra level of fluidity to the animation in this one and the background scenery is as beautiful as always. I was welling up in the very final scene when a word I was hoping to hear finally gets spoken between two characters. The moment is delivered and directed in a subtle and casual way but the depth of meaning is fully conveyed. I look forward to seeing this again with the foreknowledge of the big revelation.
I was quite curious about a little detail in the film when Sayaka serves Anna "Queen Mary" tea. I'd never heard of this one before. Apparently it was produced by Twinings from 1916 to 2007 and was a blend of Indian Darjeeling and Chinese Keemun. I wonder if it's still available in Japan, or if it's a detail from the 1967 book that was carried over to the movie, without realising it was an anachronism by 2014. I want to try it now but sealed tins are going for about £50/$70 on eBay. I could blend some I suppose. Probably by coincidence the labels on the tins were pretty similar to the trademark Ghibli sky colour.