I HAD SUCH HOPE FOR YOU, MARNIE.
To be clear: I have not read the book, and I assume the movie is faithful to the original plot points.
Review contains so many gifs and some spoilers–the plot twist is embedded in a link, but there are a lot of pictures.
Miyazaki protégé Yonebayashi adds Studio Ghibli magic to Joan G. Robinson’s classic ghost story of a shy teenage tomboy who befriends a young blonde girl who may not be of this world. Subtitled, Ages 8+.
Here was my thought process throughout the movie:
HOORAY A NEW GHIBLI FILM
oh my GOD ARE THEY TINY QUEER BABIES
I’VE WAITED SO LONGFINALLY A FILM THAT UNDERSTANDS ME
WHY DIDN’T I HAVE THIS AS A TEEN
SHE’S BLUSHING AWWWWNO NOT DANCING TOGETHER THAT’S MY WEAKNESS
ANNA GETTING JEALOUS ABOUT MARNIE DANCING WITH KAZUHIKO HALPDREAMING ABOUT MARNIE
TOUCHY FEELY BOATING LESSONS
BLUSHINGMARNIE AND ANNA ARE EACH OTHER’S SUPER SPECIAL SECRET VICTORY AT SEA THEY ARE GIRLFRIENDS
WHAT IN THE HELL
THIS IS NOT OKAY
MY QUEER BABIES NOI just wanted to see one damn kids’ book/movie about someone like me for once (even if Marnie were probably a ghost), and now I’m just freaked out by the plot twist. Thanks for that, Joan G. Robinson.
With the huge exception of the last 15 minutes and that plot twist, this was the film I needed as a proto-queer kid. I needed someone to show me it was okay to have a crush on or fall in love with your best friend. I needed a film about an awkward “tomboy” and a spirited femme-leaning girl being athletic and cool and empathetic together. I needed teen girlfriends being supportive and brave together. I need(ed) a queer ghost story, not this Back to the Future bullshit.
I’ve seen some criticism that “people are perverts for shipping teens” and “don’t understand female friendships,” but Anna’s and Marnie’s relationship was so true to my own experiences that it hurt to have the reason for their affinity and their queerness explained away in a poof of Moffat-era Whovian plot twist. As a bisexual lady-type, I have platonic friendships with amazing women to whom I am not attracted, and I also have a subset of women to whom I am very attracted. (And the same for men and non-binary folks.) Every time someone trots out “research” about how “men and women can’t be friends without being sexually attracted to each other” or how monosexual folks treat each other (as friends for straight women and lovers for lesbians), I find it offensive. Bi/pansexuals and non-monosexual queer people could be the key to understanding attraction and friendship, but we’re “outliers”? Please.
So I’ll end this here and go cry into a Sarah Waters novel:
….COULD MARNIE AND HISAKO BE A THING
DID MARNIE INTRODUCE ANNA TO SAYAKA SO THEY CAN BE MYSTERY-SOLVING GIRLFRIENDS