Animated Movies, Indie-mation, Reviews

[REVIEW] ‘Mary and The Witch’s Flower’

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There is nothing more exciting to an animation fan than not only a new 2D anime film but an entirely new studio emerging to provide us with entertainment! That gift is what we are getting blessed with this week in the new film Mary and The Witch’s Flower. The film opens with a special Fathom Events premiere screening on Thursday, January 18th and then opens theatrically on Friday, January 19th in select theaters. It is definitely something animation addicts will want to check out!

Mary and The Witch’s Flower is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi who is the visionary behind the Studio Ghibli films When Marnie was There and The Secret World of Arrietty. These films dazzled with beautiful imagery and storytelling. Fortunately, Yonebayashi is bringing that same skill-set to the new Studio Ponoc and their first feature film, Mary and The Witch’s Flower.

Based on the YA novel The Little BroomstickMary and The Witch’s Flower tells a story that feels like a cross between Harry Potter and Kiki’s Delivery Service. It is about a young girl (Ruby Barnhill in the dub) who finds a blue flower and an old broom in the forest. When she plucks the flower, its nectar gives her powers. This leads her to a world of magic including a magic school led by headmistress Madame Mumblechook (Kate Winslet).

Naturally some want to use the flower magic for nefarious purposes so Mary must protect it while absorbing this new world and its traditions. It’s admittedly a little predictable if you’ve seen fantasy films but still highly entertaining. Jim Broadbent has a lot of fun as the mad scientist Doctor Dee, who is the kind of silly villain you don’t see very often in animated films any more.

The most outstanding part of Mary and The Witch’s Flower is the astonishing visuals. Yonebayashi makes the magic come alive with a bit of a steampunk/mechanical feel to it, with plenty of creatures and spells to dazzle Mary and the viewers. It’s the kind of movie you want to see several times to notice all the gadgets and gizmos that are included in every corner, especially in the Mumblechook magic school. It’s a really fun ride that boys and girls will enjoy and isn’t as scary as films like Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke can get (or Harry Potter for that matter).

The only downside to Mary and The Witch’s Flower is it doesn’t have the emotional complexity that even Yonebayashi’s Studio Ghibli films have. A movie like When Marnie Was There goes to deep places involving death, despair, family, forgiveness, depression and more. Mary and The Witch’s Flower is more of just a fun sweet ride to go on for a couple hours. It won’t make you cry or change your life, but it will dazzle you with some pretty visuals and a fun story.


For more information on the Fathom Event go to their website Mary and The Witch’s Flower Fathom Event

Edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden

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About Rachel Wagner

Rachel is a rottentomatoes approved film critic and podcaster. She loves all things animation and does a monthly podcast on classic Disney films and on obscure animation at Rachel's Reviews. She also is the founder and lead host of The Hallmarkies Podcast. She grew up with mainstream classics like The Little Mermaid and The Simpsons but also loves indie and anime fare like Song of the Sea and Your Name. Most important to her is discussing all kinds of film and TV shows with her friends and all of you. Follow Rachel on twitter at @rachel_reviews and on her blog