Hiromasa Yonebayashi has once again taken me on an adventure I can’t get out of my head. I left the movie theater ecstatic, rambling on about my favorite parts of the movie, and how adorable Tib and Gib (the two cats) were! I cannot wait to see the english dubbed version of the film!
I must admit when the movie first began, I was nervous about having to read subtitles throughout the whole movie. However, about five minutes into the film, I had completely forgotten it was not in English and that I was reading subtitles. My mind had accepted what was going on and I was able to just relax and enjoy this international film I am not used to seeing in theaters.
I was able to watch Mary build her confidence while motifs tied everything together from start to finish. Some of the motifs I noticed throughout the film would be Mary’s thick-red hair and Mary being called “red-headed monkey” by Peter.
At the very beginning of the film, we learn that Mary is unfond of her thick-red hair. She wishes she had different hair and tries to tame it by putting it up in two pigtails. When we first meet Peter, he jokingly calls Mary a “red-headed monkey” that gets her really upset and repeats this mocking-joke again before she enters the woods.
This motif with Mary’s hair is later changed from a negative point of view to a positive point of view. Madame Mumblechook continues to compliment her hair and praises her for it. We then see Mary start to smile at the thought of her hair and begins to recognize it as a blessing instead of a curse.
Later in the film, this nickname is then made comical when Peter turns to talk to Mary, but when he turns he is facing a red-headed monkey running alongside him. Again, the motif appears when Mary is being chased by Madame Mumblechook’s flying minions, and they realize they are following the red-headed monkey wearing her coat, and that Mary had gotten away.
These motifs connecting to Mary’s hair shaped the whole film. It started as a negative motif, switched to positive, then ended as comical. Mary can teach us to love ourselves for who we are and that no matter what challenges we are faced with, we should never give up.