And their fear is well-founded. While Shawn and even his aunt welcome the idea that such creatures might exist, there is one ‘bean’ intent on destroying them. Haru, the dumpy housekeeper, voiced by Carol Burnett, with a bit too much menace is the nemesis who goes as far as hiring an exterminator to rid the house of the little “pests.” Sillier than she is frightening, however, Hara doesn’t stand a chance against clever Arrietty in partnership with Shawn, whose role as her gentle protector seems to make him stronger in every frame.
It’s a charming tale, told with the innocence of a child’s point of view. However, it seems only fair to warn that children over the age of five might not appreciate its old-fashioned sensibility. The English screenplay by Karey Kirkpatrick tends toward the insipid, and for some strange reason, everyone does a lot of sighing (yes, sighing). The director was Studio Ghibli veteran Hiromasa Yonebayashi.
“The Secret World of Arrietty” opened Friday (Feb. 17). It is rated G.