My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Hayao Miyazaki, acclaimed filmmaker and animator and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, is one of those creative types with two definite messages: there is more going on in the natural world than modern lives allow for; and just because something is strange or unknown doesn’t mean it should be scary. My Neighbor Totoro is the story of two young sisters who move with their father to an odd house in the country after their mother is hospitalized. There, they meet with spirits of the forest and conduct their own Campbellian hero’s-journey-in-miniature. The lives of all kids are filled with drama and adventure every day, a fact which might slip beneath the notice of adults as they move through their grown-up world. Their emotions are just as intense; their problems just as serious. But don’t worry, children, adventurers, spirits of the wilderness: Miyazaki sees you.
The Family Favorites classic movie series is presented by Bank of America. Media sponsorship for the series is provided by Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine and WEDU-PBS.