My Neighbor Totoro
This movie was different from American films. There is no fighting or bickering among the characters. The movie is based on two sisters and their father who moved to a new town to be closer to their mom; who is ill and in a hospital nearby. The girl’s father hires the neighbor as new babysitter whom they have never met before.
In this film the Japanese culture is very different from American society today, but very inspiring and enjoyable for its young viewers. The two sisters Satsuki who is the oldest and Mei being the youngest were very excited about moving to their new home and closer to their mom. When they arrived to their new home the girls ran all through and around the house. Their dad introduces them to the neighbor, who was an old lady who was keeping the house up while it was empty. The neighbor told the girls to call her “Granny”.
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The girl’s father also told them that she would be the new sitter while he went to work.
Her being the girls sitter was strange to me; because in this culture we live in today; us as parents we do not leave our children with strangers we know nothing about, so that didn’t set too well with me. He should have let the girls get comfortable, and get to know her first. The old lady seemed to enjoy the girls and the girls enjoyed her too. Granny had a grandson, who the girls passed along the way to find their new house. When the girls asked if he knew how to get to their new house, he told them it was haunted, but granny put a stop to the rumors.
The father, who was a professor at the local college in town, was always busy and a bit inattentive to Mei. Satsuki who is only nine and attends school had to grow up very quickly; by helping with her litter sister combing her hair and cooking for her while her mother is ill in the hospital. Both girls’s had a very big imagination. Mei wondered off into the woods one day while playing outside alone. Mei found a tree that had a path inside of its trunk, that’s when she found a spirit named Totoro. When she told her father and sister bout Totoro they didn’t believe her. Totoro was there to be with Mei when she didn’t have anyone else. Satsuki and Mei were looking forward to spending time with their mother on the weekend. It’s been awhile, so they were very excited about spending time with her. That’s when an urgent telegram was sent from the hospital concerning their mother. The girls panicked and were afraid something was wrong with their mother. They rushed off to use a phone to call their dad, but Mei got lost trying to keep up.
Once Satsuki noticed Mei was missing she had the whole neighborhood was looking for her. That’s when she turned to Totoro for help to find Mei. Totoro got a cat bus that could fly up in the sky and look over the town to find Mei. They found her on a dark road crying; she was trying to get to the hospital to make sure her mother was ok. The cat bus was a big cat, with eyes as headlights, paws as wings and its body open up inside filled with soft cat hair as seats. This is what made the movie different imaginary flying cat bus and friends.
It’s good to see that the girl’s imaginary friends were able to help find Mei and take them to the hospital to see if their mother is ok. In American movies you don’t see much of siblings like Satsuki and Mei. They were getting along, playing without fussing and fighting with each other. The two sisters were very loving and kind towards one another. This movie is a great movie for children to watch to learn and see how to get along and enjoy childhood even when things come up and the older sibling has to step up the take care of their younger siblings. My Neighbor Totoro” is a good non-violent movie for kids to watch. “My Neighbor Totoro” is based on experience, situation and exploration—not on conflict and threat (Ebert, R). When looking for films for children you should look for films similar to “My Neighbor Totoro” for your children. A film with violence tends to put children on the wrong path at times. So we want them to see and learn it’s not all about fighting bickering amongst each other, but how to love, and help one another when situations come up.