I recently watched Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty. If you want a review, visit my wife’s blog. I want to highlight two aspects of the film that impressed me–its simplicity and its sense of wonder.
The story follows little people, Borrowers, who live in human houses and “borrow” what they need to survive. Little things take on immense importance. A cube of sugar warrants a night expedition. A pin becomes a symbol of coming of age and adventure. Drops of rain become a cascade of beauty. The cracks and crevices of a house become corridors of exploration and secrecy.
By boiling the world down to essentials, The Secret World of Arrietty imbues wonder into the commonplace paraphernalia of life. And I think this is the lesson.
You can shock your audience with convoluted twists and improbable reversals. But to touch them in the deep recesses, I think often we make things too complicated.
Simplicity of plot, of word choice, of image, of emotion–these foster a canvas ready for wonder.
It’s probably why children’s books and pulpy adventures stay in the cultural imagination for generations.