When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.
Chihiro and her parents are moving to a small Japanese town in the countryside, much to Chihiro's dismay. On the way to their new home, Chihiro's father makes a wrong turn and drives down a lonely one-lane road which dead-ends in front of a tunnel. Her parents decide to stop the car and explore the area. They go through the tunnel and find an abandoned amusement park on the other side, with its own little town. When her parents see a restaurant with great-smelling food but no staff, they decide to eat and pay later. However, Chihiro refuses to eat and decides to explore the theme park a bit more. She meets a boy named Haku who tells her that Chihiro and her parents are in danger, and they must leave immediately. She runs to the restaurant and finds that her parents have turned into pigs. In addition, the theme park turns out to be a town inhabited by demons, spirits, and evil gods. At the center of the town is a bathhouse where these creatures go to relax. The owner of the bathhouse ... Written by
In the English-language version, John Ratzenberger (Aniyaku) completely improvised the ditty he sings when he is extolling the virtues of the rich customer No-Face ("Welcome the rich man, he's hard for you to miss..."). The original script's song was "Welcome the rich man--he's pretty big, you see/so all bow down and get on bended knee." See more »
When Haku shows Chihiro how to get to Kamaji the door to the boiler room opens inwards and when she eventually comes there it opens outwards. See more »
[reading a card]
I'll miss you, Chihiro. Your best friend, Rumi.
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The credits have a series of still images from the film. The last image before the film fades is Chihiro's shoe in the river. See more »
Personally, I've never seen anything as original in an animated film as in this deeply mythical fairytale. What a surreal idea for a movie! It's hard to find an adequate description (because I also don't want to spoil this in the slightest way) but this film has a sense of "otherness" to it - for lack of a better word - like none I've ever seen. And the strange, mythical nature of this film - apart from the amazing artwork - is probably one of the main reasons for its appeal to me.
Maybe the themes of the story don't feel quite as strange to an eastern audience because they fit to a certain degree with some eastern/Asian mythologies - to me, this beautiful piece of wonder was something new. And a profoundly moving experience.
Outstanding animation; funny, weird, scary and touching at the same time, this unique work of art is one I can't recommend enough. 10 out of 10.